DETROIT — Artists are some of the most powerful communicators and through visual art and technology, Facebook and Amplifier are hoping to spread the news on the importance is getting vaccinated and how it’s critical to protecting one’s self and others.
As a way to highlight the importance of vaccinations for individual and community health, Facebook partnered with the City of Detroit, Michigan Chronicle and Amplifier, to commission local artist Rachelle Baker to create an original mural in Detroit. This is part of a nationwide effort to commission regional artists from across the country on a series of temporary public art installations that encourage vaccine awareness and participation in Seattle, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Mesa, San Antonio, Jacksonville, Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC.
The campaign launched on Monday, October 4 on the building of our Michigan Chronicle headquartered offices in downtown, Detroit at 1452 Randolph Street. The art installation features a QR code and a URL that directs viewers to Facebook’s COVID Information Center to provide people with accurate information.
“To make a piece that is so cool and to help bring to light something that is so important, it feels good”, said Baker. “It was really nice to be able to show people that look like me and look like people around me, and look like people around this area to see themselves in something like this.”
The mural is titled, Protect You. Protect Them. The artwork showcases several women of color and in unison wrapped with their hands around the shoulder of each other. A bandage strip is also drawn on each of their arms to show reference to having received a vaccine shot.
Baker’s mural project is a part of Amplifier’s efforts to raise awareness in communities hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and in areas with low vaccine participation. Detroit’s vaccination rate hovers around 43% for eligible residents who have taken a least one dose of the vaccine – a percentage that is much lower compared to its suburban counter parts.
Amplifier is a non-profit design lab and for the past five years the organization has worked to bring art into public spaces to amplify important movements. “Since the pandemic hit, we wanted to respond to this movement, said Isabella Sisneros, Operations Manager at Amplifier. “We know that artists are front line responders in movements. We knew by turning to the artists they were going to be able to help articulate and visualize the public messaging from health officials and be able to turn it into messages that people can easily digest.”
The artwork leads people by QR code from their mobile device to access a credible line of public health information provided by Facebook.
“It’s really important for us to help do it in a creative way,” said Jamila Reeves, Corporate Communications Manager at Facebook. “It’s extremely exciting to see art that reflects the community and reflects the people that make this community great is so important in terms of raising awareness and the message we’re trying to bring to Detroit over the long-haul.
Facebook will provide a direct platform on where people can get vaccinated and other pandemic related information to combat vaccine hesitation.