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Artist recounts pandemic lessons learned

Freedom Baird with 'Room to Grow,' summer 2019

Remember Freedom Baird? She is the North Cambridge artist who grew grass inside her 10- by-10-foot, temporary installation beside the Minuteman Bikeway near Spy Pond in 2019, shown at left. She called it “home.”

Since then, she has fought off Covid-19 for months, somehow persisting with her art. She recounts in marked detail her medical issues in a link at the end of this update.

In an email to YourArlington, her subject line summarizes 2020's trials – “Getting through it with art.”

“I had a tough go of Covid-19 this past spring, and am now on the Covid-long-hauler journey, with slow-healing injury to heart and lungs. Not sure how much of my former activity I'll eventually return to, but for now I'm back to work at Tufts, which was a really important goal after five months on medical leave.” She is a full-time educational-technology specialist.

The illness took the breath out of her art, but she did produce a small piece, “Pomegranate, Thermometer, Apple,” for the Getty Museum's 2020 #artchallenge. It was included in the Getty's new book, Off the Walls: Inspired Re-Creations of Iconic Artworks.

Book-sale profits are being donated to Artist Relief, offering resources to artists across the U.S. during the pandemic.

The project was featured on the PBS Newshour, and described by Annalisa Stephan, Getty Museum assistant director of digital content. Watch at 01:58 >>

Baird has also written about healing and knitting >>

For her long bout with Covid-19, she offers her experience and recovery plus health information, to serve as a resource for other long-haulers. “I'm opting for a kind of radical transparency,” she told YourArlington, “because so much is still unknown about the Covid long-haul.

“In a way it's all part of my practice, which draws in the art, the science, the medicine, the human experience and the natural world. Because it's all interconnected.”

Read her lengthy account of pandemic lessons learned titled "Ongoing Covid-19 Recovery Process, 2020-2021" >>


Learn more about Freedom Baird
Aug 17, 2019: Along the bikeway, a room of our own

 


This news update, which includes opinion, was published Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. 

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