Colorful postcards, markers and wooden stamps sat on a table in the Wilson Library on Monday, ready for UNC staff to jot down notes about their pandemic experiences.
The project, titled “I Was Here: Postcards from the Pandemic”, aims to recognize University staff through artistic expression.
Launched March 1, the project is led by the Staff Advisory Committee to the Chancellor, UNC Human Resources, University Libraries, and UNC Arts Everywhere. The postcards will be part of a special exhibit on Arts Everywhere Day, April 8.
Monday’s event at Wilson is one of many pop-up workshops held this month.
“Using the art of postcard making, staff are able to create literary works and visual art that help us communicate what we have experienced personally or as a campus community,” said Kathryn Wagner, associate director of Arts Everywhere.
She also said that as an initiative that aims to be a connection point for the arts at UNC, Arts Everywhere plays a similar role for the “Postcards from the Pandemic” project.
“It’s a great way to encourage staff to be creative,” said University Archivist Nicholas Graham. “But it’s also a way to document what we’ve all been through and are still going through throughout this pandemic.”
He said preserving documentation of what people are going through today is important for future generations who will look to the archives to learn more about the impact of the pandemic.
“The things that we’re creating today, that Arts Everywhere is helping to achieve, it’s different, it’s more intentional,” Graham said. “But it’s just as important.”
Crystal Wu, head of marketing and development communications at Arts Everywhere, said it was interesting to see the postcards the project received.
“Some were very sad, some were very hopeful,” Wu said. “I loved participating in these workshops. When you talk to these people and they tell you their story, it’s really heartwarming.
When creating her own postcard, Wu said she had mixed emotions about what she was going to create.
“Trying to figure out how to represent this kind of juxtaposition of a pandemic that was horrific for many, and yet I had such a positive experience, on a single postcard was definitely a big thought process,” he said. she declared.
Wu said the pandemic has been a difficult time for many people. She said she had struggled, but also experienced blessings in disguise. She added that she was grateful for the time she and her husband spent together during this time.
“We hope that through this project people can take a moment to use art as a tool to process grief or emotion, or use it as a team-building activity,” Wagner said. “We’ve been apart most of the time for the past few years, and we can take this opportunity to create a community again.”
Staff can request take-home postcard kits to fill and deliver to drop boxes located on campus.
Drop boxes are at the Wilson Library, Morrison Art Studio, and Ackland Art Museum. Entrants may also return postcards by email with a photocopy of their postcard attached. The postcards are collectible until April 1st.
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