At the time of this writing, there have been more than 147M diagnosed cases of COVID-19, 3.11 million deaths, and 85 million recoveries. As one of the most daunting pandemics known to modern man, COVID-19 will have an impact on the global population not just today and tomorrow but for years to come. While we wait for time to pass to allow history to assess the COVID-19 pandemic, we can tune our focus until it rests on the smallest scale of the global experience, the people who went to work and continued creating throughout.
COVID-19 and Graphic Design
It can be hard to create art in even the best of situations, much less when the world appears to metaphorically be aflame. With that being said, there is something unstoppable about the human spirit and its willingness to learn and create. Graphic designers from every corner of the globe continued to craft and create even in the face of a pandemic that has left so many families, communities, and cities completely shattered.
In order to give back some attention to the artists that kept working, while highlighting important causes along the way, let’s take a moment to underline their work and efforts.
Meet the Think Food Bank
With food insecurity at an alarming high, there is never a bad time to give back to causes that help feed those that are most vulnerable among us. With the pandemic at a full boil and economies suffering across the board, food insecurity would become a dominant theme throughout COVID-19. As food banks continued struggling to find support, designers Holly Kielty and Maisie Benson of the Think Food Bank would come to the rescue.
After chatting with one another over Instagram, the two would decide to design simple stickers that showcased the most important items to local food banks in the area. The goal with the stickers was to put them on items that are valuable to food pantries and for shoppers to take it upon themselves to purchase extra for donation at a later time.
Kielty said of her work with the Think Food Bank, “We want people to go Guerrilla.” This means that stickers have ended up in baskets, on shelves, in trolleys, and just about anywhere else that you could imagine.
Welcome to Good Measures
As Kielty and Benson designed stickers to invite more donations to local food banks, the team at Good Measures was working to provide playful yet effective messaging for the pandemic. As we all know by now, working with accurate information is of the utmost importance during a pandemic. However, with information always changing, it can be hard to stay on top of things.
Joana Filipe is the co-founder of Good Measures, a business that combined a vinyl print house named Puck Studio and a design firm named InterestingProjects. Joana said, “We saw a lot of the same hazard signs, tapes, and grim warnings.”
Ultimately, Joana and her partner understood that cautious messaging was important during the pandemic but that it was still important to get the message across the correct way. This meant that the team at Good Measures would develop signs, tapes, and stickers out of unique designs with vibrant colors. The goal was to offer the same information but through a medium that was approachable and accessible.
The impact that Good Measures has had thus far is hard to calculate.Replacing the frightening and potentially alarming caution sighs of traditional government has allowed Good Measures to put out something that calms while it educates, a rare accomplishment!
Imagine Seeing A Panda Bear Walking Down The Street, Only To Find Out It Is Really A Poodle
All over the country, people walk their dogs outdoors so that they can get exercise and for bathroom breaks. Imagine how bewildering it would be to see someone walking a panda bear on a leash. Would you do a double-take? Most likely!
In Missouri, 33-year-old Rachelle Lynn McGinnis walks her poodle and gets looks from passersby every time. Ms. McGinnis is an extreme dog groomer and uses methods that other groomers don’t normally use to transform her dog to look like other animals. “You usually see people staring at her, or they will turn around after we pass to get a second glance at her appearance,” Rachelle says laughing. “Most people don’t expect to see a dog decked out with extremely fluffy fur or a coat that has different colors than the standard black, white, brown, or gray. It is fun to watch their reactions.”
Bijou is a 12-year-old poodle and loves the pampering she receives from her own as she is transformed to look like another creature. Rachelle uses a variety of methods to complete the looks she seeks. Although they are considered controversial when used on pets, Rachelle has found that she has received a lot more positive feedback via social media and in-person than she had expected.
“Bijou really enjoys the attention she receives when being groomed, and is given plenty of time to take breaks to play and rest when an extensive session is required,” McGinnis stated. “She is happy and a well-cared-for dog, and she loves the attention she receives from others, just as much as I do.”
In recent years, Bijou was groomed to look like a panda bear, polar bear, horse, peacock, and dragon. Each look requires some advance planning by Bijou’s owner to ensure she has exactly the right look when the grooming session is completed. Some projects require that Bijou’s fur is grown out for almost a year without any cutting so it meets the right length in particular portions of the body.
When Bijou’s fur is ready for transformation, Rachelle uses different shears, scissors, and clippers to remove unneeded portions. She will then sculpt the fur, using tools to trim additional portions while paying close attention to detail. In some instances, a project can take eight or nine hours to complete. Bijou enjoys being stroked, combed, brushed, and trimmed, but needs several breaks when a project takes this long.
In addition to cutting and molding fur, it is also colored to complete the look needed for some projects. For instance, when Bijou was transformed to look like a dragon, she had her fur dyed green and had attachable wings to complete the look. The fur is dyed with color that remains in place until it is cut for the next transformation project.
Bijou and her owner are getting a lot of attention because of this extreme grooming, and they each enjoy the processes involved in completing the looks others see. Bijou’s next big transformation is going to be to make her look like a sheep. This means her fur will need to grow for about a year and it will be combed, blown dry, and fluffed out using picks and combs to give her a wooly appearance. Rachelle will most likely use a brown or black dye on the face and legs to give Bijou a realistic appearance. The next time you see a panda, dragon, or sheep being walked, it may be a dog that had an extreme grooming session!
How One School Is Changing the Future for Children in New Orleans.
When you think of New Orleans, what comes to mind? The simple truth is that New Orleans is too exciting and varied a city to sum up in a single thought. What we can say with certainty is that the region has long-embodied grit and determination against all odds. For that reason alone, we aren’t surprised to see the work that Rabeetah Hasnain is undertaking through the ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy located in New Orleans. Hasnain is a teacher with the organization and her work is going a long way toward inspiring the youth that will run the city in the future.
When Rabeetah Hasnain heads to work every day, she gets to interact with the young and free-spirited children that attend her special education courses. Working with special education students can be a difficult task for any teacher, though Hasnain has found what works for her. Instead of drilling her students with facts and figures to memorize, Hasnain instead likes to let her students embrace various forms of art to complement their studies. As an example, Hasnain uses dance movements in order to educate her special needs students in the field of math, learning how to move decimal points or make large subtractions with the addition of music. Are you starting to see why the ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy is making some pretty big waves in the New Orleans educational field?
In English class, Hasnain helps her students shine by giving them improvised theatrical scenes. Through the acting work, her students are able to review and discuss the work that is being covered. A recent example of acting-meeting-education was when Hasnain had her students use theater to discuss the book, Matilda. Older students will use rap or other forms of music to learn about United States history, referencing such amazing musicals as Hamilton on Broadway.
By this point in time, you should realize that the ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy isn’t just another establishment trying to revolutionize education. Instead, ReNEW has pivoted completely toward using art as a method to teach every other facet of their program. Hasnain believes that ReNEW is approaching education in an exciting and beneficial way. Hasnain compared the jubilant form of education that the school uses to the streets of Mardi Gras, a mirror, claiming that the personality of the city shines through in both areas. In fact, Hasnain even uses Mardi Gras celebrations to influence the educational activities that her students undertake each and every day.
The ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy hasn’t been succeeding on their own, however, as help from Turnaround Arts has been formative to their transformation. Turnaround Arts is a nationwide program that helps underserved and lower-performing schools. Hasnain says of the school’s decision to incorporate artwork in every facet of their institution, “It’s just good teaching.”
Flight Attendant Has to Work on Christmas, so Dad Goes to Great Lengths to See Her
Christmas is a time that most people are supposed to spend with their family members; however, not everyone gets to do this. Some people have to work on Christmas, particularly those who work in police departments, fire departments, the healthcare field, and the field of aviation. Therefore, many flight attendants and pilots end up spending their holiday season at work instead of with family members and friends. One flight attendant experienced what many people are calling a Christmas miracle when she got to spend Christmas with her father despite also having to work at the same time. Her father generously purchased six airline flights just to make sure that he could spend Christmas with his daughter! He certainly got the award for the top father of the year!
A Different Plan in Mind
Sadly, this flight attendant could have easily spent her holiday season without seeing a single member of her family. She, instead, would have spent her day passing out water and pretzels to other passengers who were spending the Christmas season traveling. This isn’t ideal for the passengers or for the flight attendant who didn’t get the day off. Instead, her father decided to take matters into his own hands. Instead of staying away from the stresses of the airport, he decided to willingly walk into it (six times) to see his daughter. That is a sign of true love.
Shared on Social Media by a Fellow Passenger
Like other passengers, this father decided to get to know some of the people on board his flights. One person asked him for his story. When the father shared the story about where he was going and why he was there, this passenger was moved to tears. He was so moved that he decided to share the story of what this father was doing with the entire world (with his permission, of course). The story quickly gained traction with the fellow people of the internet, with numerous comments showing that other people were moved by this story as well. Even though this wasn’t the ideal Christmas for the father or his flight attendant daughter, the two were still able to spend Christmas day together. In the end, that is what matters most.
Spanning Two Days Between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
The trip started on Christmas eve when the father boarded his first flight, surprising his daughter. Of course, flight attendants don’t work just a single flight alone. He decided that, in order to spend the entire holiday with his daughter, he would accompany her on all of her flights. This was a total of six plane tickets spanning two separate days. This means six expensive plane tickets purchased with six uncomfortable takeoffs, six bumpy landings, and countless peanuts and pretzels instead of a nice Christmass dinner. Flying six times over two days is no small feat for anyone to handle, even for a passenger who is just trying to spend time with his daughter. Now, the story has gone viral. It has been shared tens of thousands of times across multiple social media platforms with countless people expressing their amazement at how far the love of a family member can take someone. Without a doubt, this story is a shining example of what the holiday season is all about. It is nice to see that, even though many people are going to be feeling the stress of holiday travel, there are still going to be a few smiles at the busy holiday airport.
Massive Snowball Fight Takes Place Between Friendly Police Officers and Neighborhood Children
As the temperatures start to drop, there are lots of things that people look forward to. Some of them include holiday presents, the crisp air, and the first snow of the season. In many parts of the country, this has already happened. One of the great parts of having snow on the ground is the ability to have a snowball fight. This is exactly what happened for the local children of the Duvall, WA area. Even though most neighborhood kids think about having a snowball fight among themselves (or building Frosty if there aren’t enough kids who want to participate), the more the merrier when it comes to snowball fights, right?
Police Officers Arrive on the Scene
The children of Duvall, WA thought that they were going to have a fantastic football game in the snow because they might not have had enough kids to make a snowball fight happen. On the other hand, their crowd quickly grew when they were noticed by some local police officers. Even though some people might get nervous when they see cops walking their way, the children knew they were in safe hands. In a video that was posted online, a few police officers exit the video. As the children turn to see what is going on, they were (probably) shocked to see these police officers emerge using riot shields. Even though the police officers make it clear they were hiding behind the riot shields, there were still some other people who were nervous, particularly given some of the events that have happened recently.
The Police Move Toward the Children with Riot Gear
After all, the children were simply minding their own business, getting ready to play football. They weren’t harming anyone and police certainly don’t need riot shields to work with children. The officers proceed to get in line behind each other. They raise their riot shields, still hiding behind them. Then, all of a sudden, they start to move toward the children. If the kids weren’t nervous before, they probably were now. There was a long line of big, strong police officers moving toward them in an organized fashion while hiding behind riot shields! It looks like something straight out of a movie from the big screen! What is going to happen next? Were the children in trouble!
A Snowball Fight Breaks Loose
Fortunately, everything was completely fine. The police continue to move toward the children and then, when they get close to them, a giant snowball fight breaks out! The children and police start going at each other in a friendly way. There are plenty of instances of both children and police officers getting completely pasted by multiple snowballs. It is clear that both parties are having a great time. This is a great American tradition that takes a friendly turn thanks to the generosity, ingenuity, and creativity of a few police officers. Even though the kids showed up at the field to play football, they got the opportunity to have a big snowball fight instead.
A Nice Interaction Between Children and Police
In today’s era, a lot of people get nervous when police officers show up. The children were certainly nervous as well. It is nice to see that not every interaction that winds up online between police and the public needs to have a negative connotation. If more interactions involving police officers went the way of this one, the world would be a better place. The children of this small town are going to forever see police in a different light.
Why Did Mr. Rogers Make Such a Big Deal Of Feeding His Fish?
Many people don’t realize that Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was a Canadian show first, and maybe that explains a lot about the show. Canadians are famous for not being just polite but sincerely nice, with no ulterior motives or passive-aggressive undertones. Canadian TV got to have him for 5 years, and then the show premiered in the US in 1968.
February 9, 2018, marked the 50th birthday of the show, prompting people to look back and reminisce about how different things are now. PBS didn’t even exist yet, and the way we watch television and videos has changed dramatically. The one thing that hasn’t changed is children and their need to learn the lessons Mr. Rogers so gently taught on his show every day.
Kindness Invades America
Every day, Mr. Rogers would come inside the room on the set and put on his cardigan and change his shoes. He greeted the audience and sang a tune, and he had a conversation with the audience the entire time he was on the air. People who watched the show felt a real connection with him and could sense that he cared about them.
It seems strange that this kind of show could be so popular, but it exhibited qualities that are still valuable today, although those qualities are all too rare. Mr. Rogers taught more life lessons in his simple show than many shows that are considered far more educational. Children were more open to the lessons because they knew he loved them.
Feeding the Fish
One part of his routine every day was feeding the fish. He not only fed the fish; he said he was feeding them every time he did it. Most people didn’t think twice about it, assuming he had his own reasons for narrating that part of his routine. The real reason turned out to be very heartwarming.
Mr. Rogers explained that the reason he told his audience every day that he was feeding the fish was because of a letter he got from a fan. A little blind girl used to enjoy the show, but she knew there were fish on the set and she worried that they were hungry. Telling the audience every day that he was feeding the fish was just Mr. Rogers’ way of letting the little girl know that she didn’t have to worry about the fish because he was taking care of them.
Stories Too Numerous To Mention
If everyone who had a story about the kindness of Mr. Rogers got together and told each other about their experiences, they would probably spend a year just telling the stories. Here are just a few more nice stories about Mr. Rogers:
- Mr. Rogers and Koko the gorilla were friends. Koko was a fan of the show and came to the set for a visit, where she helped him by taking off his shoes, which was part of his routine.
- Mr. Rogers refused to judge others. He was an ordained Presbyterian minister, a religion that teaches tolerance and acceptance. People would ask him to tell gay people that they were sinners, and he would tell them instead, “God loves you just the way you are.”
- Once on a trip to a big executive’s home, Mr. Rogers learned that the limo driver would be forced to wait outside for hours. He insisted that he come into the party instead. On the way home, he found out that they were going by the limo driver’s house. They stopped so he could meet the family and they had a great time until late into the night.
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