Mail Art in the Time of Covid
Last Fridays Art Walk
Friday, February 24th, 2023 6-9 PM
Music with Sugaree String Society
What is Mail Art?
Mail art is an artistic movement that began in the 1960s centered on sending small-scale works through the postal service.
Media commonly used in mail art include postcards, paper, a collage of found or recycled images and objects, rubber stamps, artist-created stamps (called artistamps), paint - but can include anything that can be put on an envelope and sent via post.
The art form promotes an egalitarian way of expression outside of formal art distribution and approval systems such as the art market, museums, and galleries.
What is the #MailArtStories Project?
In April 2020, Shannon Fitzgerald (Bold Moves Studio, North Carolina USA) and Erica Richmond (Open Sky Stories, Ontario Canada) joined together and asked the world to share their stories of living within the Covid-19 pandemic. The catch? Each story was to be created as pieces of art with the suggested addition of three words or phrases and sent through the mail. In total there were 119 submissions from 55 individuals coming from 11 different countries. The youngest participant was 7 years old. Many had never created mail art before, while others were well-experienced, starting their journey through the art form as early as the 1970s. There are submissions from pen pals (one from Sri Lanka and one from Spain) who met during Covid-19 and chose to participate together. A Mother and her young daughter spent time together creating and sending their mail art. There are submissions from a young boy and his Nana who were missing each other terribly. There is a submission from a family who chose to complete this project as a team.
In 2022 Shannon approached the Thomas Stevens Gallery, which enthusiastically agreed to provide a venue where the mail art creations could be seen and appreciated by the public.