CDC Foundation grant to Willson Center supports community arts projects promoting vaccine confidence

Vaccine mural 1A grant from the CDC Foundation to the Willson Center, in cooperation with faculty representatives of the UGA Arts Council, has led to the creation of three murals in a local public high school and a successful Tiktok competition, both aimed at increasing vaccine confidence through community participation in the arts.

The project, Listening, Performance, and Murals: Using Theatre and Painting to support Vaccine Confidence in Athens, Georgia, was a collaboration between UGA arts units, students, and community partners.

Vaccine mural 2The murals were designed and painted by the students and faculty of “Color the World Bright,” an ongoing project in the Lamar Dodd School of Art led by Joseph Norman, professor of drawing and painting, that has created public art projects around the state of Georgia and in Costa Rica, often with the object of helping to revivify urban and rural downtowns. Three murals were painted in the hallways of the Athens Community Career Academy, a local public high school.

Vaccine mural 3Professor Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor of the Mary Frances Early College of Education led the #BestShotUGA TikTok campaign, which included a contest with cash prizes for the best videos promoting confidence in Covid-19 vaccines. A showcase and awards ceremony was held April 23, 2022, featuring performances by several of the participating TikTok creators.

Watch the video below for perspectives on the TikTok project from Cahnmann-Taylor and the campaign’s co-leaders, as well as many of the participating local artists and student creators.