Artist Carrie Mae Weems’ RESIST COVID/TAKE 6! (“TAKE 6” for the recommended six feet in social distancing) billboard project has come to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, in collaboration with a consortium of museums and organizations in the area. The billboards began going up on Monday and the project hopes to attract the attention of Texans, particularly people of color, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state.
Black, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American communities have been disproportionately impacted by the Coronavirus, and a goal of RESIST COVID/TAKE 6! is to counter misinformation while at the same time honor frontline and essential workers.
The DFW area participants in the RESIST campaign include Dallas Contemporary and nationally recognized area museums, such as the African American Museum of Dallas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, The Nasher Sculpture Center, and the newly-formed Gossypion Investments group of cultural consultants. The idea for the initiative began as the pandemic unfolded, as Weems is serving her current artist residency at Syracuse University; the idea evolved from a conversation between Weems and friend Pierre Loving.
Other locations for the project include Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Savannah and New York City.
“With the numbers now soaring in Texas, in Dallas-Fort Worth it’s heartening to have a group of dedicated museum professionals led by Laurie Ann Farrell collaborating to bring a message of hope, understanding and compassion to the communities that depend on them for creative expression,” says Weems.
The multi-level, multi-phase campaign, which offers information on curtailing the spread of COVID-19, will employ billboards, public service announcements, and public art projects in various North Texas neighborhoods. Reusable cloth face masks, as well as reusable bags and other informational materials will be distributed in high-infection areas as part of phase two of the project.
“We’ve all been impacted by COVID-19. It’s an ecological health crisis of epic proportions — an international disaster,” Weems says. “And yet we have indisputable evidence that people of color have been disproportionately impacted. The death toll in these communities is staggering. This fact affords the nation an unprecedented opportunity to address the impact of social and economic inequality in real time. Denial does not solve a problem. And I thought, ‘How can I use my art and my voice as a way of underscoring what’s possible and bring the general public into a conversation, into heightened awareness of this problem to better the community in which I live?’”
Billboard locations include the following:
2054 Rosedale St., “No te preocupes, volveremos a darnos la mano”; 813 Hemphill St., “Don’t worry, we’ll hold hands again”
2621 Long Avenue, “La Vida es Bella!”
2100 NE 28th Street, “Life is Beautiful”
2806 E Illinois, “No te preocupes, volveremos a darnos la mano”; 3435 E Illinois, “Don’t worry, we’ll hold hands again”
7065 Great Trinity Forest Way, “Life is Beautiful”
4030 W Davis, “La Vida es Bella!”
“I am excited to welcome Carrie Mae Weems’ RESIST COVID/TAKE 6! Public Campaign to D/FW,” says City of Dallas COVID-19 Health and Healthcare Access Czar Dr. Kelvin A. Baggett. “Her ability to influence and inspire thought, conversation and change through her ingenious work is remarkable. This specific campaign accentuates necessary actions to combat COVID-19 and hopefully galvanizes efforts to tangibly address the insidious inequities that have contributed to the virus’ disproportionate impact on communities of color.”
The initiative’s partnerships include Addiction, Art Tooth, Ash Studios, AVANCE North Texas, Bridgebuilder buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, and dozens others. For a complete list of partners, please go here.
Says Dallas City Council Member Casey Thomas: “As chair of the City’s Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Social Recovery, it is vital that we let the residents of Dallas, especially those who live in communities of color know how to stay safe and healthy during these challenging times. This campaign, created by the talented Carrie Mae Weems, will effectively help us accomplish this goal.”
With the support of her longtime producing collaborators, THE OFFICE performing arts + film, Weems sees the campaign continuing in additional cities across the country as long as the pandemic continues to impact BIPOC communities. The artist’s plan is to work with organizations in major cities across the country with large African American, Latinx, and/or Native American communities to amplify the campaign’s message nationally.
“I’m not a policy-maker. I’m not a politician. I’m a citizen concerned about what’s going on in my community,” Weems says. “This coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon, and neither are the underlying issues affecting people of color that it has made even more apparent.”
For more information on the Project, please go here.
Carrie Mae Weems is an internationally renowned artist who has used multiple mediums (photography, video, digital imagery, text, fabric and more) to explore themes of cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems, family relationships and the consequences of power.