A new program called SaludArte will be an opportunity for Pima County residents to reflect on their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be led by Sadie Shaw, a local artist and TUSD board member.
Shaw will oversee the project as the Arts Foundation’s new Community Design Lead for Tucson and Southern Arizona.
Shaw said he has volunteered for the Arts Foundation “for years.” Additionally, she has had experiences as an activist and community activist that have prepared her for the work she will do for the non-profit group.
SaludArte is a partnership between the organization and the Pima County Health Department.
In addition to incorporating the stories of Tucson-area residents, the project will also “select local artists to create interpretive representations of these experiences and coordinate a county-wide health and wellness cultural fair.” at the end of the arts”.
Shaw and project organizers will determine which ZIP codes have been hardest hit by COVID-19 and create art installations in those locations.
Her previous experiences of how illnesses affect different communities inspired her to use art as a way to provide emotional relief after hurtful events.
“My cousin had passed away. He had been sick for a while, but he didn’t have health insurance. He was still waiting to get one through his job,” Shaw said. “Art was a way for me to deal with that.”
“You know, COVID isn’t the only one,” Shaw said. “There are many diseases that can be treated through the same lens.”
Shaw found an outlet in art to overcome his grief. She also knew that with the death of her cousin, stories about her community came with her.
She decided to compile oral histories. Shaw is the president of the Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association and created a mural in the Bronx Wash neighborhood.
A native of Tucson, Shaw went to the University of Central Florida for her BFA in Art and Visual Culture Education, which she earned in 2019.
Arts Foundation work is a paid position for Shaw. His seat on the Tucson Unified School District Board is a voluntarily elected position.
The Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona is funded by the City of Tucson, Pima County, and grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. The group, formerly known as the Tucson Pima Arts Council, was founded in 1984 and manages public art processes for the city and county.