RESIST COVID/TAKE 6! is a public art campaign by artist Carrie Mae Weems that communicates healthcare messaging and combats the spread of COVID-19. This multi-city project s 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 Investmentsgroup of cultural consultants.
The project was created during Weems current residency at Syracuse University.
Its title is an allusion to the recommended six feet of separation in social distancing. In this initiative, Weems marries her photographs and healthcare guidelines to spread life-saving information and life-affirming messages to Black, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American communities—who have been disproportionately impacted by the deadly virus—in the form of public-facing billboards, wheat paste posters, and takeaways including buttons and fans. This messaging both promotes preventative measures and dispels harmful falsehoods, while also paying homage to front-line and essential workers.
“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?’”
Weems is an internationally renowned artist who has used multiple mediums (photography, video, digital imagery, text, fabric and more) to explore intersecting themes of sexism, class, race, family and community, and the consequences of power. For Weems, her artistic practice, with its insistence on both technical achievement and radical empathy, creates space for community dialogue and catalytic social engagement. She declares, “my responsibility as an artist is to…make art, beautiful and powerful, that adds and reveals; to beautify the mess of a messy world, to heal the sick and feed the helpless; to shout bravely from the roof-tops and storm barricaded doors and voice the specifics of our historic moment.” Her activism in her community is thus an extension of her art, and vice versa, with a criticality, incisiveness, and urgency all its own.
Weems hopes RESIST COVID/ TAKE 6! will be impactful in both its immediate messaging and in prompting a larger dialogue about the pandemic and its long-term consequences for those most severely affected. “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.”
For more information on the artist and this project, please visit the artist’s website.
2054 Rosedale St, “No te preocupes, volveremos a darnos la mano”
813 Hemphill St, “Don’t worry, we’ll hold hands again”
2621 Long Avenue, “La Vida es Bella!”
2100 NE 28th Street, “Life is Beautiful”
2806 E Illinois, “No te preocupes, volveremos a darnos la mano”
3435 E Illinois, “Don’t worry, we’ll hold hands again”
7065 Great Trinity Forest Way, “Life is Beautiful”
4030 W Davis, “La Vida es Bella!”
Presenting sponsors include the City of Dallas, Clear Channel, and the Dallas Art Fair Foundation and Geoff Green and Sheryl Adkins-Green. Contributing sponsorsinclude Arts Council of Fort Worth, Big Outdoor, SMU Ignite Arts Dallas, and UBS. Media sponsors include 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, 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 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, Urban Arts Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Vox Invictus Mentoring, and WellMed Senior Activity Center.