September 14, 2020 COVID-19 Public Awareness Campaign by Artist Carrie Mae Weems & a DFW Consortium of Cultural Organizations Brings Masks and Information to the Metroplex
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, September 14, 2020—Internationally-acclaimed artist Carrie Mae Weems created RESIST COVID/TAKE 6! to raise awareness about COVID-19 among Black, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American communities—who have been disproportionately impacted by the deadly virus—by promoting preventative measures and dispelling harmful falsehoods, while also paying homage to front-line and essential workers. The second phase of Weems’ DFW initiative is rolling out PPE materials and health information in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. This second wave includes the donation of more than 8,500 face masks to ZIP codes with the highest infection rates; the addition of 30 Clear Channel Outdoor billboards; a wheat paste poster campaign; City of Dallas activations of bus wraps, pole banners, and displays at DART stations along with prominent analog and digital signage across North Texas.
On Saturday, October 3, 2020, at 5 p.m. CDT, Carrie Mae Weems joins New York Times best-selling author of The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir and former American editor-at-large of Vogue magazine, André Leon Talley, for a free public conversation about the RESIST COVID/TAKE 6! campaign and other shared concerns on public health and racial equity. The talk will be hosted by The Dallas Morning News and presented in collaboration with a cultural consortium of DFW museums and cultural organizations. To register, visit: http://dmndownloadvirtual.dallasnews.com.
On Saturday, September 12, 2020, The Fort Worth Community Arts Center opened an exhibition of images used in the project. Printed postcards, grocery bags, and buttons with RESIST COVID information are being distributed by more than 50 community partners across Fort Worth and Dallas. All materials are produced in English and Spanish.
By working with acclaimed artist Carrie Mae Weems, RESIST COVID/TAKE 6! presents a campaign developed by one of the most significant image-makers of our time. It combines Weems’ photographs with important CDC messaging on how to avoid spreading the virus, along with messages of hope such as “Don’t Worry, We’ll Hold Hands Again.” Her relatable images humanize issues surrounding COVID-19 by putting faces and words together to create strong, memorable campaign graphics. Posters are pared down in her minimalist style to be legible and have an immediate impact on viewers.
This multi-city project is being led in Dallas-Fort Worth by Dallas Contemporary and a consortium of local nationally-recognized museums, including the African American Museum of Dallas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, The Nasher Sculpture Center, and the newly-formed Gossypion Investments group of cultural consultants.
The DFW cultural consortium of museums and cultural partners have employed a grassroots approach to analyzing the needs of the local communities during COVID-19. Data analysis of North Texas ZIP codes with the highest infection rates confirmed that Latinx and African American communities have been hit hardest by the virus. After identifying the hot-spot areas, the group sent out community partner survey forms to determine what types of resources were needed in these areas. The budget and project plan were developed to serve these needs. This multi-phase initiative will continue to roll out in phases through December 2020.
Carrie Mae Weems, widely regarded as “perhaps our best contemporary photographer” (Megan O'Grady, The New York Times, 2018), created the public awareness campaign RESIST COVID/TAKE 6! during her current artist residency at Syracuse University, as the extent of the COVID-19 crisis became apparent. The “TAKE 6” in the title refers to the recommended six feet of separation in social distancing. Weems marries her photographs and healthcare messaging in this public art campaign created to spread life-saving information to communities of color.
“We’ve all been impacted by COVID-19. It's an ecological health crisis of epic proportions—an international disaster,” Weems says. “And yet we have indisputable evidence that people of color have been disproportionately impacted. The death toll in these communities is staggering. This fact affords the nation an unprecedented opportunity to address the impact of social and economic inequality in real-time. Denial does not solve a problem. And I thought, ‘How can I use my art and my voice as a way of underscoring what’s possible and bring the general public into a conversation, into heightened awareness of this problem to better the community in which I live?’”
“Dallas proudly boasts a vibrant arts community, and we are thrilled to support this campaign by Carrie Mae Weems, who is among the most important black female artists working in the world today," said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. "The City of Dallas will continue to work collaboratively with its arts institutions to provide vital resources, important information, and visual reminders to our residents as we work to stop the spread of this deadly novel coronavirus."
“As chair of the City’s Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Social Recovery, it is vital that we let the residents of Dallas, especially those who live in communities of color, know how to stay safe and healthy during these challenging times,” said Dallas City Council Member Casey Thomas. “This campaign, created by the talented Carrie Mae Weems, will effectively help us accomplish this goal.”
Weems’s idea came from a conversation with her close friend Pierre Loving, lamenting what they saw unfolding this spring. RESIST COVID/TAKE 6! can be seen in Syracuse, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Savannah, and New York City. The campaign will continue to roll out in additional cities across the country as the pandemic continues to impact BIPOC communities. Weems plans to work with organizations in major cities across the country with large African American, Latinx, and/or Native American communities to amplify the campaign’s message nationally. Weems project is supported by her longtime producing collaborators, THE OFFICE performing arts + film. For more information on the campaign please visit socialstudiesproject.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Weems hopes RESIST COVID/TAKE 6! will be impactful in both its immediate messaging and in prompting wider dialogue about the pandemic and the long-term health of those for whom it has taken the most severe toll. “I’m not a policy-maker. I’m not a politician. I’m a citizen concerned about what’s going on in my community,” she says. “This coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon, and neither are the underlying issues affecting people of color that it has made even more apparent.”
Presenting sponsors include Atoms, the City of Dallas, Clear Channel Outdoor, the Dallas Art Fair Foundation and Geoff Green and Sheryl Adkins-Green. Contributing sponsors include Arts Council of Fort Worth, Big Outdoor, and UBS. Media sponsors include The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, Paper City Magazine, and Patron Magazine.
Community partners include 29 Pieces, Andrew “Doc” Session Community Center, Anita Martinez Recreation Center, APAA - Association for Persons Affected by Addiction, Art Tooth, Ash Studios, AVANCE North Texas, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, BridgeBuilders, buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, The Che Clinic - Center for Health Empowerment, Churchill Recreation Center, Creative Arts Center of Dallas, Dallas Mexican American Historical League, Dallas Public Library, Diamond Hill Community Center, Elevate DTX, Ferguson Road Initiative, First Presbyterian Church, Food City, Forest Forward, Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worth ISD - Department of Visual Arts, Fort Worth Public Library, The Living Room, Klyde Warren Park, Living Harvest Church, Living Word Harvest of Dallas, Mercy Street, North Park Center, Northside Community Center, North Texas Food Bank, North Texas Behavioral Health Authority, Ntarupt, Pleasant Grove Unidos, State Fair of Texas, Step Medical Center, Sunset Art Studios, Tarrant County Black Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc., Tarrant Area Food Bank, TCC South Campus Dept of Fine Arts, Teatro Dallas, The Art Galleries at TCU, The Smart Project / The Self Publication, The Stewpot, South Dallas Entrepreneur Center, Thomas Place Community Center, Trinity Metro, Urban Arts Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Vox Invictus Mentoring, and WellMed Charitable Foundation Senior Activity Center.
About Carrie Mae Weems
Weems is an internationally-renowned artist who has used multiple mediums (photography, video, digital imagery, text, fabric, and more) to explore themes of cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems, family relationships and the consequences of power.
She was named Syracuse University’s first University Artist-in-Residence, a three-year appointment, in January 2020. In this role, she engages faculty and students in a number of important ways, including in the design, planning and preparation of major exhibitions in Madrid, Los Angeles, New York, and other venues.
Among her many honors, Weems is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (a.k.a. “Genius” grant) and was the first African American woman to have a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum.
Her other accolades include the prestigious Prix de Roma, the Frida Kahlo Award for Innovative Creativity, the WEB DuBois Medal, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, the BET Honors Visual Artist Award, the Lucie Award for Fine Art Photography and the ICP Spotlights Award from the International Center of Photography. She was named an honorary fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.
Weems has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at major national and international museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Frist Center for Visual Art, Nashville; The Cleveland Museum of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Seville, Spain.
2100 NE 28th St., "Life is beautiful"
3308 E. Belknap St., “No te preocupes, volveremos a darnos la mano"
5701 E. Berry St., “Gracias, trabajadores del mundo”
1316 Jacksboro Hwy, “Gracias, trabajadores del mundo”
5517 SE Loop 820, “Remember to”
3317 N. Main St., “Recuerda”
3057 Mansfield Hwy, “Gracias, trabajadores del mundo”
2791 E. Seminary Dr., “Thank the workers of the world”
301 Sylvania Ave., “Gracias, trabajadores de mundo”
2100 Glen Garden Dr., “Recuerda”
1900 E. Vickery Blvd., “La vida es bella”
3237 Cherry Ln., “Thank the workers of the world”
6650 E. Lancaster Ave., “Thank the workers of the world”
6920 E. Lancaster Ave., “Don’t worry, we’ll hold hands again”
5428 Jacksboro Hwy, “Remember to”
7431 E. Lancaster Ave., “Life is beautiful”
2806 E. Illinois Ave., "No te preocupes, volveremos a darnos la mano"
3435 E. Illinois Ave., "Don't worry, we'll hold hands again"
7065 Great Trinity Forest Way, "Life is beautiful"
4030 W. Davis St., "La vida es bella"
1433 N. Westmoreland Rd., “Recuerda”
209 S. Beckley Ave. (Desoto), “Remember to”
1125 Hartsdale Ave., “Gracias, trabajadores del mundo”
1609 N. Edgefield Ave., “Gracias, trabajadores del mundo”
3049 E. Main St. (Grand Prairie), “Thank the workers of the world”
300 N. Stemmons Fwy, “Life is beautiful”
1012 S. RL Thornton Fwy, “Don’t worry, we’ll hold hands again”
5308 Oleander Ave., “Gracias, trabajadores del mundo”
1606 S. Haskell Ave., “No te preocupes, volveremos a darnos la mano"
6606 S. RL Thornton Fwy, “Remember to”
11407 Emerald St., “Recuerda”
8800 Julius Schepps Fwy, “La vida es bella”
1818 Metropolitan Ave., “Thank the workers of the world”
4130 S. Walton Walker Blvd., “Thank the workers of the world”
4490 Great Trinity Forest Way, “Gracias, trabajadores del mundo”
Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Frost Gallery
1300 Gendy Street, Ft. Worth, TX 76107
On view through October 3, 2020
(Billboards/Mask and other material distribution sites)
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