Pandemic Projects

Your art goes here

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

It’s OK if you haven’t utilized the down time brought about by the pandemic to learn how to speak Spanish, explore the art of painting watercolors, redesign the landscaping in your yard, or read the complete works of William Shakespeare.

Maybe you’ve been busy sewing masks, growing fruit and vegetables to share with friends and neighbors, taking part in protests, volunteering to procure groceries for compromised community members, spending more time in nature, and making connections with people in ways that were unforeseen before COVID-19 changed the way many of us were living our day-to-day lives.

These experiences could come into play if you choose to take on one of the following creative endeavors designed with both community and art in mind.

First off is Whatcom Squared, an interactive and collaborative project being hosted by the Whatcom Museum that gives folks of all ages the chance to display their art on one of the biggest canvases around—the “Lightwall” of the museum’s Lightcatcher Building on Flora Street.

With a prompt of “Show us what your community looks like,” through August teams can decorate clear plastic sheets with designs and imagery that best represents them and who they’ve surrounded themselves with during this unprecedented time. With 250 exterior squares to fill—each is three feet by three feet—the museum expects to have a wide array of visual “voices” to lend to the effort.

Pieces will be affixed to the outside of the light-filled wall after they’re returned to the museum, with a goal to have the massive “stained glass” patchwork on display through September. Because it’s too soon to say when Whatcom Museum’s campus will open again, the easy-to-see exhibit will provide a much-needed creative respite in the form of public art.

“Any community members in Whatcom County are welcome to design a square,” organizers say in a FAQ on the museum’s website. “Create a square with your family, your neighbors, your classmates, your coworkers, etc. We recommend at least three participants per square (it’s a lot of space to fill!). Whatcom Squared is envisioned as a team-based activity in order to emphasize community and collaborative efforts.

Thanks to funds provided by the Whatcom Community Foundation’s Project Neighborly grant, registration for the project is free, as are supplies for those who schedule time for their team to work outdoors in the Lightcatcher courtyard (masks will be required, and staff will clean and provide disinfecting materials).

“I’m excited to open up this huge canvas to the creativity of Bellingham,” museum educator Drew Whatley says. “I can’t wait to see what kind of amazing images our community can put together.”

Similarly, a “Chalk at Home” event spearheaded by the Anacortes Arts Festival—another creative entity forced to take a break in 2020—is asking people to make art in their neighborhoods through Aug. 30, then email pictures of their creations to be shared. Ten entries will be chosen to receive ice cream from Lopez Island Creamery, but we’re guessing participants will be in it for more than sweet treats.

On a recent sunny afternoon, neighbors in Anacortes socially distanced on a closed-off trail to create a long line of colorful hot air balloons floating over mountains in a variety of hues. It was a lovely display of community and creativity, and one organizers hope to recreate throughout the city.

For more details on these projects, go to, or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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