Local artists take on pandemic through artwork


Photo courtesy Amanda Freund

Amanda Freund hangs a banner outside her home. The banner was inspired by a Mister Rogers quote.

Zoe Malin, Reporter

Outside of her home, local artist Amanda Freund hangs a banner that reads “Thank you helpers.” It’s Freund’s way of expressing gratitude to those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s such a grim and weird time,” Freund said. “Seeing something as simple as a positive sign makes a difference.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Evanston artists are using their creative outlets to spread positivity and raise money for local organizations. They use mediums ranging from prints to paintings, but each piece has a story.

Freund was inspired by a Mister Rogers quote circulating on social media during the pandemic: “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” She thought of the saying when she decided to make a banner to display in front of her house.

After Freund shared a picture of the banner on Instagram, others were inspired to make their own banners to give thanks. Freund said she’s received messages and pictures of banners from people in Evanston and across the country. Community members stop to take pictures of the banner when they are walking or driving by.

Photo courtesy Chris Froeter
Chris Froeter paints portraits of local business owners and sells them for $200. He then donates all money from the sale and portrait to the business.

Artist Chris Froeter wanted to help small businesses now struggling because of the coronavirus outbreak. He is selling portraits of local business owners for $200. Froeter donates all the proceeds and the portrait to the business. He said it’s his way of giving back to businesses that have always been there for its customers.

“If these small businesses are gone, a whole portion of this city’s culture is gone,” Froeter said. “We just can’t let that happen.”

Froeter chose to do portraits of some business owners he knows personally. These pieces can be purchased through his Instagram page. Evanston residents can also reach out to Froeter and commission a piece of a business owner to support them specifically. Froeter has done portraits of John Kim, owner of Backlot Coffee, Sam Mack, owner of Mack’s Bike & Goods and Lynn Bednar, owner of Walsh Natural Health. He said his project is small, but shows businesses that they’re loved.

Photo courtesy Ben Blount
Artist Ben Blount created a series of prints depicting responses to the Coronavirus. The bottom of each print says, “We are all connected.”

In his series of six prints titled “We Are All Connected,” artist Ben Blount depicts responses to the COVID-19 outbreak. The first print says, “Keep your distance,” referring to social distancing. Others express thankfulness and remind people to value their loved ones, like one that states, “Show your kindness.” Prints are made in different colors and the bottom of each says, “We are all connected.”

Blount’s prints are for sale individually or as a set on his website. He is donating a portion of profit made from sales to local organizations.

“People are doing such great stuff all over the world,” Blount said. “It’s pretty cool to see Evanston coming together, too.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @zoermalin

Related stories:
Evanston-based artist Ben Blount draws on the city for inspiration
Resident beautifies city with garage door murals
Local artists host ‘collective feeling’-inspired gallery during Evanston Made’s First Saturday event