NASAA Notes: May 2022

May 2, 2022

Wyoming: Vaccine Confidence Project

A hoop dance artist and her daughter dressed in traditional clothes perform for an audience at an outdoor venue.

Jasmine Pickner Bell performing a hoop dance with her daughter at the 2019 Northern Arapaho Powwow. Photo courtesy of Josh Chrysler/Wyoming Folklife Collection

Arts and culture partnerships can help public health programs achieve their goals with higher levels of participation and efficiency. In an effort to utilize the value of arts to educate communities and build confidence in both COVID-19 and influenza vaccines, the CDC Foundation, a nonprofit that is mobilizing the philanthropic efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), awarded grants to a total of 30 arts and culture organizations across the country. As part of this Vaccine Confidence Project, the Wyoming Arts Council (WAC) received a $75,000 grant from the CDC Foundation to engage artists, culture bearers and arts and cultural organizations to create innovative works of art that will promote COVID-19 vaccine confidence and uptake in the state.

After inviting submissions from Wyoming based artists and artist collectives, WAC recently announced the selected artists: Jared Rogerson, a country musician in Pinedale; Jasmine Pickner Bell and the North Bear Singers, a hoop dancer and traditional Arapaho drum group from Riverton; Rose Pecos-SunRhodes and Jared SunRhodes, a mother-and-son creative writing and ledger artist team from Fort Washakie; and Janissa Marie Analissia Martinez, a literary artist from Laramie. These artists or artist collectives will receive $10,000 each to create inspiring artwork that communicates the importance of vaccination in protecting communities. Nonpartisan artworks exploring artists’ lived or shared experiences with COVID-19, loss of family or community members, and experience receiving vaccines will be prioritized. WAC intentionally selected artists with deep roots in the communities they wanted to reach, including artists from rural communities and Indigenous artists.

In addition to commissioning original artworks, WAC will partner with a local marketing firm to develop a statewide promotional campaign this summer to share the work with the public. For more information, contact Wyoming Arts Council Folklorist and Health & Wellness Specialist Josh Chrysler.

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