Lexington in the Time of COVID-19

An artwork about people practicing social distancing at a time of a deadly virus. And also offering kindness.

In Lexington, Kentucky, the universities and public schools closed on Friday, March 13th. Faith communities were asked to suspend their services.

Major social events were canceled, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Public libraries shuttered, too.

Everyone has been asked to practice social distancing. This is hard, even for the introverts among us and even if we call it something else, like “physical distancing,” in order to affirm our lasting commitment to community.

On Monday, March 16th, the first day the changes impacted many of us, we started this new artwork--two or three photographs captured every day.

--link to Herald Leader article--

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When asked what’s on their minds, Chris tells us: “Everyone’s got their own agenda. My daughter came back from UK and went to her room. My son is concerned about his computer gaming. Mercedes is concerned how she is going to teach all 600 of her students.

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Joe teaches Physics at UK and was getting ready for his online class next week, learning how to use Zoom. Susan was thinking about exercising.

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Hoda: “We’ve been discussing all the dishes we’ll cook during the quarantine. And we’ve been watching lots of movies together as a family.”

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Mitchell is a rescue. Anthony and Dean got him at Wags for Drag 10 years ago. His original family had named him Mitch after Mitch McConnell. Anthony and Dean renamed him Mitchell after Mitchell from Modern Family.

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Dan and Lauren had planned an outing to Sidebar Grill to get takeout a little bit later in the evening. “This may be the last time we can get their burgers … for a while … and that’s a real thought,” Dan mused.

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Kerri was figuring out how to juggle school, her two-year-old being home from daycare (the daycare closed the day before), and a baby on the way, not knowing what state the world will be when the baby arrives.

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Pat: “In the time of COVID-19, what IS the right thing? How can we do the right thing and keep our humanity?”

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Grace’s full name is Grace O’Malley. She was named after the first female pirate to have her own ships. Unlike the pirate she is named after, Grace has her own Instagram account.

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Amy: “We’ve had several years with very hard transitions. We are so grateful to have this apartment as our home now. And we’re glad to be quarantined together.”

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Arturo took a break from working on new artworks to sit for a picture. We really wished we could have seen his work-in-progress—a series of 7 pieces about light and creativity—but we knew better than to enter someone else’s space.

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Just before we arrived, Finn had found a worm. He was quite happy to be able to show it off.

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Kate: “I am finding more and more things to appreciate about my life every day. I now get to have dinner at home every night. Every. Single. Night. With this guy.”

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Tanzi continues to work at God's Pantry Food Bank and feels privileged to still have a job. In fact, her job is very secure, but it’s really emotional for Tanzi to know it’s secure only because so many are experiencing food insecurity.

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While Blue watched on, Brett played “Rocky Island” on his 5-string banjo. He told us it’s a Burgee’s Creek/Knot County/Kentucky version of this traditional tune.

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With Hannah’s help, Felice has been home-schooling her kids for almost two weeks. The tradition of afternoon tea is, in fact, part of their daily calendar: “3 PM—Tea & Poetry.” Most of the time, they bake cookies at home.

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On the first day of social distancing, Ciara made an embroidery that said “Stay ready.” She meant that both as “get enough to live on” and as “be ready for the good things that can happen.” For her, making art is a way to heal and learn.