As concerns over the global COVID-19 pandemic intensify, residents of one small city in Georgia are spreading a simple message to support their local artists: “Everything Will Be OK.”
Yard signs with the positive message have popped up on lawns and windows all over the city of Dunwoody, hoping to show the community’s solidarity in wake of so much uncertainty.
Even local law enforcement joined in to get the word out.
“It gives folks that glimmer of hope that we're going to get through this and stay positive,” said Alan Mothner, a Dunwoody resident and CEO of the Spruill Center for the Arts. “It's something we all kind of share in our hearts here and our community wants to spread that positive message.”
Mothner runs a local art’s center and is the brainchild behind the signs. “Everything Will Be OK” was originally coined in a 2009 mural by local artist Jason Kofke. Over a decade later the message is now an ingrained part of the community.
“People drive by it, take pictures in front of it, everyone's always talking about it around here,” said Mothner. “It's kind of known as the unofficial motto of the city of Dunwoody.”
Mothner realized his neighbors wanted a way to show they’re sticking to the city creed in these trying times. He got together with Heyward Wescott who owns a local graphics design company, and the pair began putting signs up around town.
“The message is just wonderful,” said Wescott. “We’ve had this sign for years in our community and I think now is the perfect time to embrace it.”
The duo received an outpouring of support and began selling the signs through the Spruill Center for the Arts to support local artists out of a job during the Coronavirus crisis.
“Galleries are shut, they can't sell work, they can't teach,” said Mothner. “Most artists really have no means of income at the moment.”
Each sign is $20 and goes to the artist’s fund. Volunteers are delivering and planting signs in their costumers' yards to avoid any physical contact.
Mothner said they’ve received over 600 orders for signs since Sunday, raising at least $14,500 for local artists in just over 24 hours.
“We're overwhelmed by the support we've seen from the public behind this effort,” said Mothner. “We've now gotten requests from people in Florida, New Hampshire and Minneapolis all asking for signs. I’m glad so many people want to step up and help our artists.”
Mothner said the Spruill Center for the Arts board is meeting this week to determine the best mechanism for allocating funds to artists. If you'd like to order a sign, you can do so on the website.