Community-centered book project features community members as artists
Pittsburgh, PA – Pittsburgh-based artist Marlana Adele Vassar is pleased to announce the launch of Six Feet Apart, an artwork supported by the Office for Public Art’s Artists Bridging Social Distance in the Public Realm initiative. This collaborative community book project invites members of Pittsburgh’s BIPOC communities to share stories of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their lives. Six Feet Apart invites participants to choose how to express themselves through words, illustrations, and other means of expression.
“The purpose of this project is to make art and expression a reality for everyone” said Vassar. “Six Feet Apart is about removing barriers and pressure related to creativity and accessibility – words, text, and various materials can be used as long as it fits within the page template, and the stories can be submitted either online or in-person. Our communities are full of stories, and now everyone in Pittsburgh’s BIPOC communities will be able to share their pandemic experiences in their own way.”
About the Project
Community members are encouraged to fill out a Story Page using the prompts provided in the template created by Vassar. An example of a prompt is: What did you learn about yourself or other people during COVID-19? Space is provided in the template for participants to write a story or poem, or to draw or paint an image that represents their experience.
Share and Submit Your Story
Interested participants can access worksheets either in-person or digitally. To download a PDF version of the Story Page and view a tutorial video of Vassar explaining the project, please visit: https://opapgh.org/our-work/civic-engagement/artists-bridging-social-distance-in-the-public-realm-initiative/six-feet-apart/ .
Once completed, participants can submit their worksheets using the Google Form link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSew8CW-coUhKFDFF3j3ZmMQeCvyNabggsVc5Q0iPYt-d5Kgmg/viewform?usp=sf_link.
Hard copies of the Story Pages are also available at participating community locations. To pick up or drop off a Story Page, please visit the following community partner locations:
- Everyday Café at 532 North Homewood Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15208
- Brew House Association at 711 South 21st Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
- BOOM Concepts at 5139 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Receptacles for completed pages are also available at each location.
All completed Story Pages must be submitted by Wednesday, May 25, 2022. If dropping off at a physical location, Story Pages must be submitted before the close of business. If submitting digitally, worksheets must be submitted by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
Once all Story Pages have been collected, Vassar will assemble the pages into a book that will be donated to Black Unicorn Library and Archives Project, where it will be available for community members to borrow.
About Marlana Adele Vassar
Based out of East Liberty, Vassar has thirteen years of experience working with art, communities and design projects. Her creative approach centers around a balance of style and substance, translating community stories into meaningful imagery with vivid storytelling. Her figurative works are known for featuring people of color in unique designs, with the primary focus centering on themes of joy, imagination, and surrealism. Her public projects are site-specific and adjusted to reflect the communities they are placed in, with the goal of creating enriching and accessible experiences in the public art realm.
March 1, 2020
OPA is seeking proposals from visual and performing artists for projects that aim to bridge the social distance created by efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.