COVID-19 Creative Community Response Grant

Stanford Arts is here for you, wherever you are


The COVID-19 Creative Community Response Grant provided funding for projects that steward the power of art toward community connection in uncertain times. The grant program ran during Spring Quarter 2020.

This grant was administered by the Office of the Vice President for the Arts.

Applications are no longer being accepted.

Sabrina Wilensky 2018


Sabrina Wilensky (she/her)
Director of Program Operations and Project Management
Office of the Vice President for the Arts

Grant Recipients

Stanford Stuck@Home Concert

Sponsored by Medicine and the Muse

The Stanford School of Medicine Stuck@Home Concert features doctors, students, and staff playing music in their homes.

Lines of Love: Love in the time of COVID-19

Participants will be people willing to be interviewed about their love stories.

Digital Open Mic Nights

This activity takes place every week on Friday, from 4-6pm Pacific time, on ZOOM (

Live This One (Vivelo) Paint Project

Distribution of painting kits to be used during video tutorials.

Up Close: One-Painting Tours Led by Artists

Sponsored by ITALIC

This project would make virtual visits to the museums possible, despite the shelter-in-place restrictions and online spring classes.

The Comeup Collective Podcast

Podcasts from the Comeup Collective documenting life on campus during shelter-in-place


The QuaranZine is a print and online journal, currently housed on Instagram, made up of submissions from the general public. Its mission is to celebrate the variety of life that quarantine offers to so many folks. It is a home for the words, art, music, videos, scribbles, to-do lists, recipes, jokes, laments, and confessions that people could possibly think up during this time.

Living in a Pandemic

My project explores the conversations we are having around the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our lives. I plan to gather the perspectives of people from all socio-economic backgrounds, races, and living conditions to create a series of artworks that spread awareness around the different perspectives regarding the pandemic, allow others to make their own decisions about what ideas to reside with, and encourage them to take preventative measures against the spread of coronavirus.

Three Views

Every three days we will gather to depict the view outside our window through a different artistic lens (different art material and prompt). We live in different regions and countries, with different landscapes of the world outside the homes in which we isolate. By the end, we will collage the perspectives on a shareable website, opening up the prompts for others to join us.

Student & Stanford Community Protective Mask Collective

Sponsored by the Department of Theater & Performance Studies (TAPS)

Provide Stanford students and the greater Stanford Community with prepared mask making kits in order to create non-surgical masks for the greater ask risk community.

What's Big, Sweetie? Podcast

What's Big Sweetie is a podcast for Black and FLI womxn, by Black and FLI womxn. We launched two weeks ago, the day after everyone was instructed to return home until further notice due to COVID-19. The podcast explores and muses about the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality within the elite university, and especially under the circumstances of a pandemic. It's a way for our hosts, Tyah and Linda, to give themselves and their community space to both laugh and vent in a time when it's hard to do either.

Recorder Choir

We see recorder choir (an ensemble of ~20 players) as a chance to unite both performers and audience on level, low-stakes ground. Many of the teaching staff experienced learning recorder in early elementary school as our first experiences with music, which was often an imperfect, squeaky, and trial-and-error process. Strongly driven by the idea that anyone who wants to should be able to be a musician (and be given the tools to succeed in doing so), we want to invite people into a space that truly and intentionally is made to be as close to “no experience needed” as we can make it. By offering free instruments, peer-led musical instruction, and opportunity for structured learning and musical performance, we hope to provide an educational, fun, and slightly absurd experience for the broader Stanford community.


As music groups are unable to meet in the traditional sense, Stanford sophomore quartet members Neil, Hannah, Addison, and Kevin hope to continue sharing music with communities across California and the country by recording, editing and publishing music of their virtual quartet. Our virtual quartet will be uploaded to YouTube and shared widely to the Stanford community through social media to bring joy to everyone during this time of isolation and uncertainty.

Stanford in Minecraft

This project aims to recreate the Stanford campus in Minecraft on a public server accessible to any Stanford affiliate, creating a familiar virtual space to gather and build.

Writing Medicine: Reflective Writing Sessions for Healthcare Workers and Their Loved Ones

Sponsored by Medicine and the Muse

Writing Medicine is a weekly, virtual reflecting-writing session for healthcare workers and the people who love them to write, reflect and share in the time of Covid-19. It is led by Stanford Medicine's Writer-in-Residence and Director of Writing and Storytelling at the Medicine and the Muse Program, Laurel Braitman PhD, a NYT bestselling author. In just two weeks we have amassed roughly 260 participants and plan to offer weekly workshops for the duration of the pandemic. So far (in the first two sessions) participants included residents, ethicists, nurses, social workers, medical students, clinical chaplains, anesthesiologists, emergency docs, physician assistants, hospitalists, nurse's assistants, oncologists, therapists, psychiatrists and many more. Also their sisters and brothers, parents, partners and children. Our aim is to offer participants a chance to pause and take time to focus on not just what is urgent, but what's important--using the arts and creative writing to help healthcare workers reflect on and process some of what they are experiencing. No writing experience is necessary. We have had 260 people sign up for these workshops and every week we are seeing more and more interest. Participants have written poetry, prose, creative nonfiction and more. And not only are they writing, but we are seeing a powerful and supportive community begin to form in and around the workshops. You can check out our website here:

Stanford Chamber Chorale Spring 2020 Creative Performance Project

Sponsored by the Department of Music

The Stanford Chamber Chorale seeks to create two high-quality "virtual choir" music video recordings as a way to create and share its music and maintain a performance element in its Spring 2020 term despite COVID-19 restrictions. The pieces will be C.V. Stanford's "Coelos Ascendit Hodie" and Eric Tuan's "Pathways" (subject to change).

Coloring to Cope

The project’s aim is to provide a calming, meditative space with coloring pages. With supportive illustrations and quotations, the hope that our community can de-stress and find comfort during this difficult time.

COVID-19 Documentary Play

Our project is a documentary-style play. The project will feature interviews from a wide range of individuals - many of them related to the Stanford community - telling the story of how their lives have been impacted by Covid-19. Similar to documentary plays such as The Laramie Project (2000) and The Permanent Way (2003), the interview transcripts will be kept verbatim and rearranged to form a cohesive narrative (although identities may be changed for anonymity purposes). The play will be performed/read remotely by a group consisting of Stanford affiliates, though the performance will be recorded and then made accessible to the public.

Collective Care Book Club

Collective Care Book Club will inspire thoughtful & healing conversations between socially distanced friends and family on identity, history, and race while uplifting POC voices. Participants are encouraged to read poetry and fiction with a small group in celebration of API History month and the work of artists of color. Reading a physical book allows distant loved ones to share an experience that doesn’t rely on a screen, and reading poetry and fiction in particular can provide much needed solace in these unsure times. In addition, all books will be purchased from independent booksellers.

Harmonies of Pianists - A Collaborative Music Initiative

My project encourages and promotes the community of Stanford pianists to discuss creative ways to develop a musically positive impact during the coronavirus pandemic. I hope to encourage the piano community of musicians at Stanford by creating a collaborative, video-edited online performance through YouTube, to encourage them to spread hope amidst these difficult times.

Studio Spring

This project is inspired by the plans that I had of creating music during Spring quarter on Stanford’s campus. Now, I hope to bring this idea to life in a new way, utilizing a home studio setup to make music that I can share with our community. By documenting this process and tapping into the healing power of music, I intend to foster feelings of connection with other artists and music lovers.

Bian Zhi: The Fabric of Our Community

Using traditional methods of weaving from my Hakka Taiwanese and Fujianese heritage, I will create woven pieces of art in response to COVID-19's impact on Asian American communities.

Club Cardinal

With so many Stanford students now off campus due to COVID-19—and those remaining on campus unable to see each other—it has become exceedingly hard to maintain the tight-knit community that inevitably comes from seeing each other in classes, eating together, and even just running into each other on campus. In order to recreate this campus feeling and restore as much of these interpersonal relationships as possible, we have created an artistic digital rendering of Stanford’s campus, in which students (and even faculty and staff!) can, in real time, walk around campus, see who else is in that area, and join Zoom calls based on the location/building they are in. This application will not only be a fun, interactive way to meet up with friends at “Lakeside dining” to catch up over a meal or host a yoga class at “Farillaga,” but users will also be able to chat with people around them, helping foster new relationships and connections during this time of isolation.

Time Capsule Notes

The Time Capsule Notes project is a series of handmade, illustrated cards with that are created and mailed out on request. Inspiration for illustrations and messages may be taken from short conversations with recipients about an object or experience from their lives. The notes are intended to be something that recipients can save as an artifact to look back on from this strange period of time.

What’s In Your Time Capsule? Cultivating Community Hope and Resilience During the COVID-19 Crisis

Sponsored by the Social Ecology Lab in the Graduate School of Education & the Woods Institute for the Environment 

Leveraging work our lab has been pursuing on rational hope and actionable optimism, we will gather Stanford community members’ perspectives on what is keeping them hopeful about the future, what strategies they are developing now that they wish to carry along in their “time capsule” and have with them when they emerge from this COVID-19 crisis, and how they’re coming together as a community to foster that collective sense of resiliency to support each other in these efforts. We will do this through inviting Stanford community members to complete and submit our “Postcards of Hope,” which we will display on a virtual wall of hope (and eventually, upon return to campus, potentially in an analogue/physical form as well) as well as to submit photos of their “time capsules,” or photographs representing what they wish to bring ahead into the future with them. We will design an innovative, interactive website through which community members can not only submit their postcards of hope and time capsules, but also comment on and interact with each other’s hopeful future visions, thus creating a community web of ties and connections, theoretically predicted and empirically supported to enhance community resilience.

Haiku in the Time of COVID

Sponsored by the Stanford Medicine Division of Primary Care and Population

We seek to engage and unite patients, providers, and our community-at-large by reflecting on their lives in the time of COVID.  Through the format of haiku's 17 syllables, they will share voices from both within and outside the healthcare settings. The end result of the project will be a collection of poetry written by a diversity of voices (child to adult, patient to clinician) that can connect us through the shared emotions and experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Human Rights Podcast — The Rights Pod

Sponsored by the Center for Human Rights and International Justice

The Rights Pod will be a podcast series created by students of Stanford's Center for Human Rights and International Justice. Students will interview either: a) human rights professionals, and discuss the nature of their work, their career paths, and the issues they work on; or b) other people in the Stanford human rights community (faculty, staff, affiliates, students) and discuss opportunities to get involved on campus (such as the human rights minor, fellowships, paid work, or extra-curriculars).

Intersections: Where Theory and Practice Meet

Sponsored by the Department of Theater & Performance Studies (TAPS)

“Intersections: Where Theory and Practice Meet” will be a webseries / podcast that will feature TAPS faculty interviewing professional theater artists about their creative practice, focusing specifically on how they are creating performances during this COVID moment.

Journal of Musical Nourishment

The Journal of Musical Nourishment invites musicians and artists to respond to a guided meditation with sound or video. These responses will be recorded and compiled into an audiovisual journal, to which a remote audience can watch, listen, respond, and be nourished.

The Power of My Eye

We, Stanford Students for Workers’ Rights, intend to evoke the power of empathy via the art medium of storytelling. Our plan is to share the stories of various service workers in tandem with commissioned art pieces that describe the individual stories we are trying to paint. By merging these mediums, we hope to increase the impact of our project and thus increase awareness around our most pertinent issue, that of workers rights.

Reimagining Us: Asian American Art For Healing

Remaining Us will use art and letter-writing to 1.) support the Asian American community as we work through the impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic, and 2.) strengthen our community in preparation for the negative psychological and emotional trauma faced by Asian Americans in the wake of the pandemic. We will publish artistic prompts that encourage Asian American student artists to 1.) express our triumphs and worries and 2.) explore what a healed, loving, and strong Asian American community would look like both currently and in the perilous future. We will publish the responses to these prompts on an Instagram account, and also set up a penpal system that brings the community offline, and encourages Asian American artists to engage in personal, healing dialogue.

Hands to Heart

The pieces of this collection are utilizing hands as subject matter to portray ideas and commentaries surrounding service during the COVD-19 Pandemic. In this collection, though a variety of mediums and styles such as acrylic painting and digital design, the intersection of art, service, and medicine are fused to provoke reflection and dialogue between common viewers while commemorating the ever impactful pandemic we are living through.

Music of the Pandemic

The goal of this project is to represent the emotional experiences of Stanford affiliates during the pandemic. I want to interview Stanford students and affiliates about their lives during COVID-19 and write music based on those interviews.

The Midafternoon Show

A weekly comedy talk show for the Stanford community.

Stanford Women in Politics (SWIP) Book Club

Stanford Women in Politics is proposing a bookclub for 15 - 25 undergraduate students, where all members receive the same copy of a single book purchased solely from independent bookstores in the Stanford area. We will have reading assignments (e.g., read chapters 1 - 3), guiding questions related to the assigned texts and weekly discussions via Zoom. In doing this, we hope to support small businesses and offer students a space for meaningful interaction with one another.

Reflection Booth: A Story-telling Project

The "Reflection Booth" is a documentary / Humans of "..." format story-telling project that features student reflections on their experiences during COVID. Inspired by the African American History Museum reflection booth, my project will ask students to submit 2-min videos/audio reflections of one of the general prompts provided. I will then compile, distill and organize these stories to create a film featuring them, hoping to inspire more sense of empathy and understanding of people's multitude of experiences during COVID.

Robber Barons: Going Viral

'Robber Barons: Going Viral' is an online sketch series written, produced, and directed by the Barons. While we cannot perform live sketches during this quarter, we have turned to a digital platform, with Zoom sketches, digital shorts, and comedic songs. We hope to create a sense of shared experience and foster an online community where students can tune in and share in some laughter with their peers.

World According to Sound Event

We're all living inside Zoom meetings, webinars and classes which constitute the bulk of our online time together as a community. Very few events allow us to tune in together to appreciate artistic work. This event is a new one hour listening piece by World According to Sound, especially created to reflect on shelter-in-place.

Grounded: A Community Art Piece

While used in the field for noting scientific observations, journaling through watercolor illustration allows students to reflect on their relationship to place. Through “Grounded,” Stanford EARTH students will join together to teach place-based journaling through a virtual workshop on Zoom and send basic art supplies to participants’ homes. Each art piece will be scanned and sent back to us to create one giant collage, this gestalt of art a testament to how even apart we can unify to appreciate place and the world around us.

The Home Studio Blog: A Step-by-Step Tutorial for Improving Room Acoustics

With recording facilities, performance venues and practice rooms shut down due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, the home-studio movement is of growing significance for recording artists who seek to continue their creative endeavors in their living spaces. However, due to the lack of acoustic treatment in most homes, recordings may sound audibly degraded compared to those done in a professional studio. This project seeks to share knowledge on the technical methods (acoustic absorption, diffusion etc. ) one can use to circumvent the limitations of home acoustics, such that we do not compromise quality when recording at home.

Color Me Queer: Professional Development Panel & Listening Party

Sponsored by BEAM Career Education

The goal of this event is to help audiences learn how to navigate/ negotiate being gender non conforming and queer in the work place and in their own private endeavors.

Anthology Filmmaking Collective

As film productions have come to a halt around the world, Stanford students hope to utilize the limitations of social distancing as a creative constraint. Each student will direct their own short film in their respective locations and string them together into an anthology film — a collection of short films tied together by a theme. Together, the Anthology Filmmaking Collective will storyboard and edit the short films into a final film product that will be published on Vimeo for public viewing.

SSO Online Guest Speakers

Sponsored by the Department of Music

SSO Online is an online course (MUSIC 160/160Z) open to members of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Philharmonia (combined) plus anyone in the community interested in learning about orchestral music. The course instructor is Professor Paul Phillips and meets each Tuesday on Zoom from 5:00-6:30pm (Pacific Time) from 7 April through 9 June 2020.

Quarantine Gallery

Sponsored by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Quarantine Gallery is a worldwide idea to curate work from community members and present them to community as well as international audience via online media. The idea can connect the community to art and activities during quarantine, allow them to express their feelings, and share it with others of the same experience globally. I would like to live the subject open but a suggested theme is “beautiful moment under pandemic”.

Joie de Vivre Storytelling Project

Joie de Vivre is a storytelling project which seeks to share the inspiring stories and real challenges of older adults (65+) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through online stories and video spotlights, Joie de Vivre hopes to enhance human empathy and alter the negative stereotypes about older adults by highlighting the courage, wisdom and “zest for life” that they bring to the world.

Diversity in the Arts Community Circles

Sponsored by the Program in Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity (CSRE)

We will hold intimate gatherings with three artists of diverse cultural backgrounds and art forms, at different stages of their lives pursuing careers in the arts. They will share trials and tribulations of their journeys post-Stanford as well as some of the art they are creating.