Nurses are suffering in large numbers as a result of their continued dedication, selflessness and heroism during the pandemic and in the two years since. They need to know that people still care and are deeply grateful for their serve and sacrifice back in 2020 and 2021. They put their lives on the line fighting while trying to keep others alive, safe and healthy. It is only fitting to find a special way to honor, support and help these heroic professionals as they continue to fight Covid.
At the height of the pandemic, a time full of social, political and emotional unrest, I created a collaborative art project from afar with 18 other artists from across the country representing 9 states and both coasts. We were each looking for a way to channel our own emotions, heal ourselves and in turn do something for a greater good.
The Together While Apart Art Project was put together and finished in 2021. It is a now only a few weeks away from being permanently installed in its forever home at The University of Virginia Medical Center. For the past 10 months, The Together While Apart Art Project has been traveling around the Southeast on temporary loan to various medical facilities spreading a message of Hope, Healing and Gratitude for our national healthcare professionals.
Having a daughter who is a nurse, a son who is in PA School and two nieces who are also nurses, I am more acutely aware of how many healthcare professionals are struggling right now. Some are being neglected and poorly treated and the system they uphold has failed some of them. There are many groups of amazing people, such as teachers, frontline workers, working mothers and more who have also become heroes since 2020, as well as stretched too thin. I wish I could help them all. But where I can put my focus is on bringing greater appreciation to our national nurses through The Together While Apart Art Project.
In partnership with The American Nurses Association, we have created a fundraising campaign for Nurses based on The Together While Apart Art Project. Our mission is to raise money as well as bring attention to what nurses have been experiencing as a result of the pandemic. Many nurses do not receive the wellness resources they desperately need to process what they have been through since 2020. As a result, The ANA has developed a Wellness Initiative Program to provide mental health resources and wellness activities to any and all nurses across the country free of charge. But this Program needs all the financial help it can get to continue helping a greater number of nurses.
Since May is National Nurse Appreciation Month as well Mental Health Awareness Month, there is greater focus on both. It is a perfect time to celebrate nurses who did so much at the height of the pandemic and still continue to do so.
The Together While Apart 2020 Thank You Campaign has been created to honor, support and thank nurses across the country.
The goal of this campaign is to raise $20, 200, an amount chosen because it reflects the numbers 2020, the year nurses truly became heroes. The target ask amount is $20.20 which will enable one nurse to have access to a therapeutic call and free resources that will boost and sustain their mental well-being. This phone call alone might change a nurse’s life and even save it.
Here is the Campaign Link.
About The Together While Apart Art Project
The artwork was created from repurposed cardboard, an example that even the most ordinary items have significant value. The only abundant art supplies I had to offer each participant during the lockdown phase of the pandemic were cardboard pieces from recycled shipping boxes that I had accumulated. Each of the other 18 artists received several 6” x 6” squares of cut cardboard to decorate any way they desired. I imagined a large quilt-like composition that would reflect each artist’s personality by allowing them to design their own piece(s). In 2021, I brought them all together in a cohesive and unique composition that reflects what was in each artist’s heart during 2020.
Because The Together While Apart Art Project was conceived during the height of the pandemic, it has been dedicated to our national healthcare professionals. This beautiful artwork has the power to be more than just something amazing and inspirational to look at. It has the capability to educate and create awareness about burn out, PTSD, low morale, grief, depression and financial stress these professionals face as a result of the pandemic.
At each exhibition location, this artwork has renewed faith, optimism, strength and humanity in all who have viewed it. It is a visual reminder of Hope, Healing Goodness and Resilience. It is also proof that Kindness and Generosity, mixed with a tiny spark of a creative idea and some old cardboard boxes can have a far-reaching impact on others.
The Together While Apart Project is on Instagram@TogetherWhileApartArtProject