COVID-19 Public Art Project
Three bus stop shelters in Pittsburgh now display Haiku about how we are all navigating the changes, frustrations and confusion of the pandemic. Please consider becoming a part of our mission to keep us connected through these extraordinary times by contributing to our Indiegogo!
MISSION STATEMENT: We connect people to each other, themselves and their environment through the ancient Japanese art of Haiku.
Before the shelter in place came to Pittsburgh on March 23, the first Haiku Happiness Zoom Party had already taken place in collaboration with hyper-local news source, The Incline. That first event provided an opportunity for 20 people to discuss their concerns and fears surrounding the pandemic. You can read the resulting Haiku here.
The next event, two weeks later, was in celebration of National Poetry Month. The group drew inspiration from a painting by local artist Frank Harris and created a collaborative multi-stanza Haiku (you can see it below in the photo slide show of all the art we've done).
By the middle of April, it was clear that it would be beneficial to continue talking about what everyone was going through with the enormous changes and adjustments brought on by COVID.
Each week, we started with a discussion about the pandemic, created a Ku-Ren, and then got inspired by pieces from incredible artists like James Simon, Jacob Lawrence, Mary Cassat, Harper Henry and Ashley Longshore. Then I took the words and designed a new piece of art using the original work.
Over ten months later, the Collective is still going strong, meeting 2-3 times per month, documenting the emotions and experiences around the virus. Currently, we have about 200 collaborative Haiku.
The unique piece is that each line is written by a different person so every Haiku has three authors! Each week, we write a multi-stanza Haiku called a Ku-Ren. Some of these poetic nuggets are funny, others thoughtful, and all reflect how collectively we’re experiencing and processing these very strange times. It’s awesome how such a small group of words can be bring such comfort.
I turned the first month of collaborative COVID Haiku into art that was shown at the Corona Crafted Art Show in September 2020. In January, three of our Haiku about navigating the pandemic went up on bus stop shelters around Pittsburgh. Our goal is And we'll be displaying more of our work on billboards and bus stop shelters around Pittsburgh starting in January.
A vivid description of a work of art, The Haiku Ninja Collective has taken ekphrastic poetry to a whole new level! Honoring art of all kinds, the Collective has thoughtfully shared their observations and feelings about each piece and then collaboratively transformed them into a Ku-Ren. We've invited sculptors, painters and photographers to take part and the results are amazing!
"Y'all inspire me!!" ~ Ashley Longshore
Haiku Happiness parties enabled everyone to draw inspiration from a fabulous piece of art and discuss their observations and thoughts. Those words were used as a jumping off point to create a Ku-Ren - a multi-stanza Haiku where each line is written by a different person. One Haiku - Three Authors! staci then took the Ku-Ren and designed a new piece of art using both the original work and the poetry.
"So beautiful!" ~ Harper Henry
Below are some examples of what we've created!