C Widmann, a senior pursuing a B.A. in Theatre and an M.A. in Arts and Cultural Management, received a $500 CREATE! Micro-Grant to publish a digital zine to amplify the stories of artists and their creative pursuits during the pandemic.
Widmann’s project, entitled “Creating Something Out of Nothing: Artists Thrive Despite the Pandemic,” grew out of an article Widmann wrote last spring for The Current, a digital magazine at MSU. That article explores the various creative pursuits of artists during the pandemic and how their projects provide a sense of balance and nourishment during a time of uncertainty.
“Creating Something Out of Nothing: Artists Thrive Despite the Pandemic” expands upon the article by revisiting past contributors, conducting additional interviews, and adding personal experience to the zine.
“Winning the CREATE! Micro-Grant means I can share these amazing stories with a larger audience, which is very rewarding,” Widmann said. “There is a societal mentality floating around that the arts can’t survive a global event like the pandemic, and that arts aren’t necessary for human survival. These stories prove the opposite, that creation is vital to humanity.”
The zine features more than 20 individuals who are either faculty, alumni, or students at MSU. Each artist tells a unique story of how their lives dramatically changed when the entertainment industry shifted to digital, a move that would inform their creative practices forever. The artists weave a common thread of innovation, adaptability, and resilience through their endurance of the pandemic’s challenges.
“My favorite part of creating this project was getting to revisit artists I spoke to months ago and finding out how their processes had changed or expanded as the quarantine restrictions have relaxed,” Widmann said. “Everyone is in a different space now, for better or worse, and those stories deserve to be told too.”
I’ve always wanted to be published, and it’s satisfying to have finished as large a project as this. My passion is being a storyteller with every piece of writing, and so I jumped at the opportunity to share the stories I’ve collected here with an audience.
Widmann’s passion for storytelling shines through this project and being able to add their own experiences was significant in the development of the zine. While at MSU, Widmann has explored a variety of creative pursuits, from theatre to painting to recording history and publishing journalistic articles.
“This grant allowed me to take on a large-scale project and get published, which is an amazing personal opportunity,” Widmann said. “But it’s all about the stories I get to amplify with this platform, these artists are the real stars of the show.”
Through their work on the project, Widmann learned more about the design aspects of publishing, like layout and formatting. In the past, Widmann had only written and edited text for publications, so the micro-grant gave them the opportunity to expand their skillset and fuse their background in visual and performing art with publication management.
“I’ve always wanted to be published, and it’s satisfying to have finished as large a project as this,” Widmann said. “My passion is being a storyteller with every piece of writing, and so I jumped at the opportunity to share the stories I’ve collected here with an audience.”
The CREATE! Micro-Grant Program was established to support student artwork proposals that offer critical and imaginative responses to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The winning proposals each receive $500 to be used to pursue the creative proposals.