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“You Complete Me”  Postcard Project Connects People During Pandemic

By Wayne Andrews | Community Columnist

The pandemic has impacted all of our lives in numerous ways.  How we work, how we play, and how we connect with our community. Social interaction is key to our mental health. Dr. Emma Seppala, author of the book “The Happiness Track” wrote “People who feel more connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression. Moreover, studies show they also have higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, are more trusting and cooperative and, as a consequence, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them. In other words social connection is key to social, emotional and physical well-being.

Artist Ashely Brewer used her art to make connections during this time of social distancing. You Complete Me is a project she started to reach out to her friends and the wider community through social media inviting community members to request a postcard. On postcards she started a drawing. Then mailed them with a return envelope and a letter inviting them to complete the picture. She created drawing of mason jars, moons, stars and squiggles allowing those who received the cards to transform or incorporate them into a 4 x 5 work of art. While not everyone mailed back their completed work of art she received a mix of creative drawings from adults and children.

Brewer shares that she received delightful responses in the mail almost every day. Postcards arrived in brightly colored envelopes, little presents, from friends. The project expanded her sense of community as artist she follows on social media requested cards making an actual connection. People from around the world joined the project requesting and sending back cards. In some cases the card was shared with others by the recipient with multiple hands completing the work.

The project received a grant from the Yoknapatawpha Art Council’s J.E.Pitts Fund to cover the cost of mailing. It is on exhibit at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center (413 South 14th Street) through October with additional postcards available for pick up if you would like to join in the project and have a sense of connection. The exhibit is open from 9AM to 5PM Monday through Friday.

To learn about other projects funded by the Arts Council follow online at www.oxfordarts.com where you can see a complete schedule of program, sign up to receive a free weekly newsletter or to make a donation to help support project by local artists that help us connect our community.

 

Wayne Andrews is the executive director of Yoknapatowpha Arts Council.

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