Banners such are these line lamp posts from Longfellow Square to Monument Square reminding motorists and passersby to wear a mask and stay 6 feet apart. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

PORTLAND — With the number of cases of coronavirus increasing locally, Creative Portland is hoping public art all across the city serves as a reminder of the ways necessary to curb the spread of the virus this winter.

The artwork corresponds with Stay the Course, an initiative and informational website launched by the city in September to remind residents, businesses and visitors to wear masks, stay 6 feet apart when possible, wash their hands frequently and avoid large gatherings.

Dinah Minot, executive director of Creative Portland, said Creative Portland’s Arts Messaging for Public Health initiative is about spreading that message while showcasing the style and unique nature of local artists.

Elsie Widing was inspired by the “Make Love, Not War” mantra of the 1960s in creating her piece, which can be found at Coffee By Design on India Street. Courtesy / Creative Portland

Elsie Widing, who recently move to Portland from Brooklyn, said she thought the project “would be a great way to get involved in the Portland community.” Widing is one of close to 20 artists whose work adorns banners along Congress Street, on buildings throughout the city, signs on buses and bus stops and on stickers being given to elementary school students. Minot said some of the art will also be used at rest stops along the Maine Turnpike.

Widing’s piece, located at the Coffee by Design building on the corner of India and Newbury streets, was inspired by the 1960s rally cry “Make Love, Not War.”

“There are interesting parallels between our time in COVID and the unrest of the 60s, so I gravitated towards this reference,” she said. “I wanted my design to be simple but impactful. I believe that wearing a mask is a sign of caring for one another and I wanted this message to ring clear.”

Tamara Jones saw the Creative Portland project as a opportunity she didn’t want to pass up.

“I knew that this was a way I could contribute to our community and be able to use my talents to help during this pandemic. I’m also interested in creating more art for public spaces in Portland, so this project aligned perfectly,” she said.

Jones’ superhero art work can be found on lampposts along Congress Street.

“I wanted to create something bold and fun, but also wanted to communicate a sense of action, energy and heroism,” Jones said. “I thought that using a classic comic book pop art style, would be a great way to showcase the public health guidelines of wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart. My hope is that people will recall the actions of our favorite comic book heroes and see the parallel connection to the steps we are all collectively taking during this pandemic. By following public health guidelines, we too are taking brave steps towards fighting COVID-19. Doing the right thing is heroic.”

Tamara Jones was inspired by the art work of classic superhero comics for her artwork as part of Creative Portland’s Arts Messaging for Public Health initiative. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

Jones said all the pieces together send a strong message.

“When you see all the different pieces together, you realize how this project is a great statement within itself. Though our perspectives, design approaches and ways of saying it may be different, collectively our intent is the same … to help one another stay healthy and well by following these guidelines,” she said.

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