Looking at the coronavirus through a creative lens

The Center for Creativity hosted a community-wide competition to craft a creative response to and intervention in the pandemic public health discussion: any format, any genre, written or visual, analog or digital. We received entries from current students, staff, alumni, and members of the Pittsburgh community. Below are the winning entries:

“Shutdown” by Grace Hobayan

The whole entire world is now on shutdown
People all over are having a meltdown
Chaos in grocery and retail stores
Warning signs placed on many doors
No boats, no planes, just travel bans
No concerts — disappoints many fans
No school at all, just learn from your home
No hanging out, just talk on the phone
Stuck in one place with nowhere to go
Fight the bug, how? Well, nobody knows
The number of cases keeps increasing
Global hysteria still unceasing
Every aspect of life is affected
Because of people worldwide infected
We live in a worrisome time in history
Even with research, the bug’s a mystery
It seems so hard to fully eradicate
Isolating ourselves has become our fate
Every day keep checking the news
Against this bug we should not lose
Put aside your differences, you must know
That we are all facing a common foe
Social distancing changes your plans
Avoid all contact and wash your hands
Please don’t go nearer than five or six feet
Don’t shake hands or hug — smile and wave when you greet
Hope and pray for an end to this malady
Don’t trust the press with their logical fallacies
Listen to people who know what they’re talking about
Not to just anyone who happens to have clout
Only look for the cold hard facts
Not for speculations or nonsensical crap
You’re bound to find this in the history textbooks
Because of how ugly the stats in the news look
No other pandemic has been more contagious
The response of the world to this bug is outrageous
How soon will a cure be finally found?
We really don’t know. We’re still on shutdown.

Grace Hobayan, from Lima, Ohio, graduated summa cum laude in April 2020 from the Swanson School of Engineering with a bachelor's degree in bioengineering. She plans to attend medical school starting in August.

Grace Garner & Jess Taylor, Crafts and Coronavirus

Grace Garner is a political science and film double major involved in the UPTV shows “Pitt Tonight” and “The Bully Pul Pitt.” Jess Taylor is a neuroscience major working toward a certificate in public and professional writing, and an RA on campus. Grace and Jess met as undergraduate teaching assistants for the neuroscience course Brain and Behavior.

“Flattening the Curve” by Carol Stanton

Carol Stanton is a retired psychotherapist and former adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. She has an M.Ed. from Pitt and worked here as a career counselor. Her “Life Coach in a Box” was published in 2006. Currently she is a student in the Osher program and takes poetry classes with Sheila Kelly. Her poetry has been published in the Paterson Review.