The visual media organizations CatchLight, Dysturb, and The Everyday Projects are seeking submissions for visual art and storytelling that addresses key public health messages in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Formats can include: photography, video, cartoons/comics, graphic design, paintings, drawings, memes, and more. We will work with the selected artists to package the material for distribution on social media and for display in public spaces as murals and/or projections. Our goal is to harness the power of visuals to challenge misinformation and disinformation and improve public communication and news delivery surrounding COVID-19, to underserved communities starting in Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Paris, and Nairobi. 

We are encouraging artists from these regions to apply but are not limiting the call for artists geographically. We will consider submissions from any geographic location and will make the final graphics open source and accessible from anywhere.

The key personal and public health messages we are currently focusing on are:

Public health:

  • Yes, you still have to wash your hands all the time.
  • Continue to social distance when possible, staying 6 feet / 2 meters from other people.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces (cell phone, door knobs, etc) every day.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Use your elbow to cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze.
  • Gathering in crowds will get many people sick. Avoid groups and crowding.
  • If you cannot avoid crowds, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover or mask.

Medical care:

  • If you feel sick, avoid going out in public. Wear a mask, even when at home.
  • If you feel sick and are having trouble breathing, go to the hospital immediately.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, ask a doctor about getting tested.
  • Now is not the time to avoid going to the doctor. If you have a medical issue, including those unrelated to COVID-19, you should contact or visit your doctor.
  • This is a difficult time for all people in all places – many people are feeling anxiety and isolation. Mental health care is important. Get in touch with a counselor or psychiatrist.

Community:

  • Avoid victim-blaming. If you start to see specific groups of people getting sicker than others, don’t assume it is their fault. It is our responsibility as a community to keep each other from getting sick. This is not a time to let racism and xenophobia reign.
  • Workplaces that are currently open need to allow for reduced numbers of workers present at the same time.
  • When restrictions begin to ease, it does not mean that this is over and we can return to “normal”. We all still have personal responsibility. It is in our hands to prevent a future spike in cases and the need for another lockdown.

Other:

  • You may describe the health message you wish to communicate and why you feel it is important.

Eligibility

We value diversity of all kinds – race, gender, geography, type of artwork – and will work toward selecting a diverse cohort of artists.

This opportunity is open globally and you need to be at least 18 years of age or the age of majority in your jurisdiction of primary residence at the time of submission. Submissions will be accepted in English, Spanish and French. 

All submissions must be original (meaning not using third party pre-existing copyright materials). Creators must own all rights to use all elements included in the work submitted.

If your visual is selected for our global campaign, you will be required to grant us and our partners an unrestricted, perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty-free license with respect to your visual for use as part of our campaign and related activities so that it can reach as broad an audience as possible across platforms and media support.

We will offer each artist $500 per visual selected.

We will be reviewing proposals on a rolling basis with the first review date set for May 7, 2020.

Who We are:

At CatchLight, we believe in the power of visual storytelling to foster a more nuanced and empathetic understanding of the world. We serve as a transformational force, urgently bringing resources and organizations together to support leaders in a thriving visual ecosystem. Our goal is to discover, develop and amplify visual storytellers.

Dysturb is an international urban media dedicated to information and education. Its mission is to (re)connect global citizens with the news, and inspire action for a more just and sustainable model of society. Rooted in urban culture, Dysturb develops communication and engagement strategies to create meaningful and inspiring experiences, and to bring crucial subjects directly in front of people’s eyes

The Everyday Projects uses photography to challenge stereotypes that distort our understanding of the world. Our ever-growing global community of photographers strives to make images that convey a more accurate view of daily life than what is commonly seen in the media. We are creating new generations of storytellers and audiences that recognize the need for multiple perspectives in portraying the cultures that define us.

Pamela Chen is a creative director who began her career as a photojournalist with a concentration in mathematics, a path which continues to shape her work exploring the intersection of photography, culture and technology. Over the past 15 years, she has been a visual leader at Instagram, National Geographic, and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. Pamela is currently inaugural Human-Centered AI and JSK Journalism Fellow at Stanford University working with viral content creators to ultimately help design better algorithmic recommendation systems.

Jenell Stewart, DO, MPH is an Infectious Diseases physician-scientist at the University of Washington, where her research has focused on STI and HIV prevention in Kisumu, Kenya as well as among women selling sex in Seattle, USA. She provides clinical care for patients at Harborview Medical Center, a University of Washington affiliated hospital in Seattle. 

This project is made possible through a grant from the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships program at Stanford University.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.