It’s a no-brainer to nourish the hungry in tough times, and it’s our instinct to turn to art to feed our craving for both diversion and meaning when theaters, museums, and galleries are closed. But to bring the two together–that’s aiming vision and ambition higher. In Detroit, Anthony Curis is the co-founder of Library Street Collective, a contemporary fine art gallery, as well as a partner in three restaurants and bars. Committed to using all his varied resources, he marshalled them into a single assistance program. Area students, many of whom count on school lunches for one of their meals, receive a delivery that includes both lunch and a sketchbook, plus colored pencils which they can use to color in the drawings and graphics.
The reach and its consequent joining of forces are the project’s ingenuity. Curis’s restaurant staff are paid to cook the students’ meals; both established and emerging artists contributed to the sketchbook (which also contains blank pages for students to create their own art); and both a youth development program and a food rescue and delivery organization have been mustered to distribute the care packages.
All our work, no matter how internally focused or specialized, has natural connections to the world outside. Now is a time to look up and out and recognize what else fits in the box we’re sending out into the world, who might provide it, and who will help us deliver it. Partnerships already implied can be made explicit–and can lead to potential collaborations that have been at the ready all along.