Six Detroit Artists. One Global Experience. Introducing “COVID Diaries: Stories of Resilience.”

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Image credit: Taken by Rachel Elise Thomas for WDET

Detroit StoryMakers is commissioning six local artists to capture our shared experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The resulting audio-visual diaries will release on WDET’s Instagram, wdet.org and on CultureShift.

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The coronavirus pandemic is a global tragedy, and Detroit is one of the hardest-hit cities in the U.S.

Through it all, Metro Detroiters have responded to the crisis with innovation, creativity, generosity, and overwhelming support for people in need. 


See the full “COVID Diaries: Stories of Resilience” series here.


In normal times, we look to our artists and thinkers to help explain the age we live in. But the arts community is also suffering economic anxiety brought on by the pandemic. 

So, WDET is launching COVID Diaries: Stories of Resilience,” a six-week, multimedia introspective that supports the local arts community and taps into our shared experience of the novel coronavirus.


EXPERIENCE THE PROJECT

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COVID Diaries: Stories of Resilience 

As part of WDET’s StoryMakers, we have partnered with Documenting Detroit, a photojournalism and arts organization, to tell stories of resilience through the eyes of six Detroit artists. 

The first assignment: “Take a Breath.”

Taken by Erik Paul Howard for WDET.
Taken by Erik Paul Howard for WDET.

We asked these artists — all of different backgrounds and perspectives on the city — to share photos, audio diaries, and creative writing that illustrate the moments that bond us as we care for ourselves and each other. 

Each artist will receive the same weekly assignment to document their world through the lens of a particular theme. The resulting work will be exhibited on WDET’s Instagramat wdet.org and on CultureShift, WDET’s daily culture program. 

The first assignment, which will begin publishing next week: “Take a Breath.”

How You Can Participate

Everyone’s experience is different. WDET is inviting you to share your own COVID Diaries.

It’s simple:

  • Follow WDET on Instagram for weekly prompts
  • Take a picture or video that reflects your own interpretation of the weekly theme
  • Post your photo, tagging @wdetdetroit and #WDETCOVIDDiaries

Meet the Artists

Photo Illustration by Shiraz Ahmed / WDET
Photo Illustration by Shiraz Ahmed / WDET

Left to right, top then bottom.

Darryl DeAngelo Terrell is a BLK queer artist, digital curator and writer. They received a Master of Fine Art in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Their work explores the displacement of black and brown people, femme identity and strength, the black family structure, sexuality, gender, safe spaces, and personal stories, all while keeping in mind the accessibility of art.

Courtney Wise Randolph, host of “COVID Diaries,” is a native Detroiter with a heart for people and their stories. She writes for nonprofits and individuals through her small business Keen Composition. These days, she is elated to expand her storytelling skill set through podcasting and radio and is a proud WDET Storymakers Fellow.

Amy Sacka is a documentary photographer who is passionate about celebrating the beauty of people and culture in Detroit and the Midwest. Her work has been featured in National Geographic, HuffPost, TOPIC, BuzzFeed, The GuardianDetroit Free PressThe Detroit News and PBS World News Hour. She is a 2019 Knight Arts Challenge winner.

Erik Paul Howard is a photographer and co-founder of Inside Southwest Detroit, Young Nation, and The Alley Project in Southwest Detroit. Through cultural, place-based, and media projects, he has been building with neighbors and youth for over 20 years. Erik’s photography documents human interest and themes of community formed around shared passions and intersecting needs. 

Rosa María Zamarrón was born in Midwest City, Okla., but raised primarily in Detroit. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a B.A in Photography, focusing primarily on Documentary/Photo Journalism. Zamarrón has exhibited in various cities such as Grand Rapids, Detroit, Austin, New York City and Rome, Italy. She currently lives and works in Detroit, Michigan.

Rachel Elise Thomas is a Detroit based documentary photographer and collage artist who obtained her BFA in Photography at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. Her work centers around identity, womanism and prevalent issues that have affected black Americans for several years. She is known for facilitating and inspiring others within the art and photography community in Detroit.

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WDET is here to keep you informed on essential information, news and resources related to COVID-19.

This is a stressful, insecure time for many. So it’s more important than ever for you, our listeners and readers, who are able to donate to keep supporting WDET’s mission. Please make a gift today.


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David Leins, Program Coordinator, Detroit Storymakers

David Leins is Program Coordinator at 101.9 WDET, overseeing the Detroit StoryMakers program for independent media makers in Detroit. He once hiked the entirety of Isle Royale National Park and never saw a moose.


COVID Diaries, Exhibition

COVID Diaries is a ten-week multimedia introspective that taps into our shared experience of the novel coronavirus.


Detroit StoryMakers

This post is a part of Detroit StoryMakers.

StoryMakers is a new approach to telling the stories that change how we experience metro Detroit. We train, connect, and support media makers from communities across the region and share their stories with the world. This work is made possible with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs

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