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Four artists selected for Princeton public art campaign encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations

A Princeton COVID-19 Vaccine Public Art Campaign is using artwork from four local artists to promote COVID-19 vaccinations for Princeton residents unwilling to receive them or who are hard to reach.

Created by Gwendolyn Krol, vulnerable population outreach coordinator (VPOC) for the Princeton Health Department, the campaign through local artwork is not only designed to help encourage the public to receive vaccines, but also to push against vaccine hesitancy.

“The beauty of this campaign is that it is literally beautiful. Artwork as a health messaging tool is neat in that it can inspire hope or connect with an individual more than just an ordinary infographic would,” Krol said. “This is especially true because the art that we selected are created by Princeton artists. So that sense of community engagement and togetherness is created.”

The artwork provides visual awareness and aids the effort of distributing information on vaccine safety, according to the Princeton Health Department.

“Of course, in my outreach, we are pairing these messages with vaccine facts in the form of fliers and discussions so that the public is informed as well,” she said. “So yes, I am hopeful that this campaign can increase vaccine awareness and confidence, as well as emphasize that the vaccine is accessible and available to all who are of age.”

With the Arts Council of Princeton as a partner and facilitator, four artists and their work were chosen for the campaign: Manveen Bindra, Veronica Foreman, Claudia Orostizaga and Rhinold Ponder.

The created artwork has messages and taglines promoting preventative measures such as wearing a masks to along with COVID-19 vaccinations and features a display of artwork in a different language. The art by Bindra, Foreman, Orostizaga and Ponder are being placed on stickers, yard signs, fliers, tote bags and posters.

Krol said she started handing out posters and some yard signs, depending on their location’s ability to display them, at Lupita Groceries, La Mexicana, Tortuga’s Mexican Village, Princeton Public Library, YMCA, YWCA, Terra Momo Bakery, Laundromat of Princeton, Arts Council of Princeton, Capital Health Primary Care – Princeton, Princeton Pediatrics, Monument Hall, Claridge Wine & Liquor, Signature Cleaners & Tailors, and Dental Care Princeton.

“The tote bags and stickers have been handed out during our recent community clinics along with the packets we hand out regarding side effects and immunity information,” she said. “We will continue to hand these out during our summer clinics. As for the fliers, I am still waiting to hear back from local organizations to let me know whether or not they would like to distribute them, which designs, and quantities. Of course, we also gave out the final products to the artists themselves.”

Currently, Krol and the department are staying with the current products they have displaying the artwork and messaging for the campaign. Once distributed, they will monitor how the public responds to displayed artwork as an outreach tool.

Then they will evaluate whether different products such as T-shirts or even a temporary mural would be beneficial as Krol and the department try to build vaccine confidence.

“At this time, vaccine education is super important in order to encourage individuals who are still on the fence about the vaccine so we want to be creative with how the artwork is displayed,” krol said. “An exhibit may also be possible in the summer months or even the fall to pair with a health education event. Still, these are not officially planned, but I am definitely playing around with different ideas and I am always open to new suggestions.”

Krol had drawn inspiration for the campaign from officials in Charlotte, North Carolina’s Mecklenberg County, which also had artists create pieces of art through a competition that displayed taglines and messages in different languages.

After coming across the idea, she set out to create one similar in the Municipality of Princeton with hopes of not only promoting the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations, but the vaccines’ safety throughout the Princeton community.

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