Ponder Installation Art as an Antidote to Our Pandemic Reactions

Whether the setting is schools or colleges or workplaces, we can use installation art initiatives as a way to enabling people to process what is occurring in our complex COVID world, now made more complex with racial tensions, economic uncertainty, elections and absence of stability across the globe.

Installation art involves many folks — masked and socially distanced to be sure as the art is created. And, many projects can involve people in their design, their location, their preparation and then their completion. And, the process can even be documented and preserved in a publication (online or in print).

Here is a link to a masks and mirrors project that can be adapted to a myriad of environments. While designed and described as an activity for children, it can be used by colleges and workplaces with minor adjustments.

The goal of these projects is to engage a wide range of individuals. They can help create community — in person and even online. And, they enable folks to express themselves but they can also see their expression in the context of other people’s efforts.

We need to find outlets to express ourselves. Art has filled that need across time and place and culture. Why not use art now to help students, faculty and employees process the deep uncertainties of our world? Art is a way of accessing feelings, using different parts of the human brain and messaging — powerfully and collectively.

Author, Educator & Commentator; Former President, Southern Vermont College; Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Dept. of Education; Former Law Professor