Client: Venture Richmond
Location: Richmond, VA, United States
Completion date: 2020
Artwork budget: $8,000
Together Apart was a participatory art installation in response to COVID-19. The physical separation of social distancing can easily make us feel disconnected from each other. The goal of Together Apart was to illustrate our similarities as well as the unique ways we are dealing with this pandemic and communicate the ways we can still connect together while we are apart from each other. We used the symbol of a hand to represent human touch as it has been something we’ve missed most while isolated. Throughout the course of the installation, we asked people to paint a rock representing something they miss as a result of the pandemic. A total of 1362 rocks were painted. At the completion of the installation, we asked community members to help by taking the painted rocks and distributing them all across Central Virginia.
The ultimate goal of this project was for people to find ways to feel connected during a time of isolation. Installed in October 2020, This project was commissioned by Venture Richmond, an organization that produces the highly anticipated Richmond Folk Festival. Since the Festival was canceled, Together Apart was produced to provide a space where people could come to Brown's Island, and engage while remaining socially distanced. Together Apart offered an opportunity for reflection, healing, and connection during a time when the effects of the pandemic were still raw and fesh.
This project was the result of a large community effort. We first designed the layout of the hand using landscaping fabric. A local community activist leader was used as the hand model. 10 ton of river rock was delivered to the site and placed using a team of over 30 community volunteers. Throughout the installation people brought their own rocks and placed them within the design. In addition, we pre-painted many rocks, left out paint markers and asked folks to write onto them and place them.
When the installation was complete, the unpainted rocks were donated to the James River Part System, and we asked the community to take painted rocks home with them, or place them in various spots across the community.