LANSING, Mich. — The pandemic had a toll on everyone in one way or another.
“Just the little simple things that we take for granted when they’re just niceties, but they mean more than just niceties in a situation like this,” said local artist Mattias Carosella.
For local artists it meant a stop to a lot of things they loved.
“February of 2020 was the last time I performed in public live and it kind of felt like a whole important part of my life shut down,” said local artist Sare Vedolich.
That's when Melissa Kaelin got an idea to bring local artists together again.
“We are a group of artists that came together during the global pandemic to do something positive,” said founder of the Social Gap Experiment Melissa Kaelin. “The Social Gap Experiment is a project to bridge the gap of social distancing, using our creativity on social media.”
The group started sharing their art on social media.
“We started doing these live Facebook video broadcasts ad we came together remotely from the isolation in our homes to share our stories and creativity,” Kaelin said.
But then Kaelin had another idea.
“We wanted everyone to have a tangible piece," she said. "A book they could hold in their hands where they actually got published during the pandemic.”
Carosella said being asked to contribute came at a time when needed most.
“To be asked to submit to something was a really touching thing in a moment when most of us were kind of isolated from each other,” said Carosella.
Even though the book officially launched in December, they wanted to come together and celebrate in person.
“It is so wonderful to be around people and share stories with people again and not do it through a screen,” said local artist Tom Cantrell.
The book has work from 43 different artists including poetry, sci-fi, fiction and artwork. All proceeds from book purchases are given back to the community.
“We’re raising funds to support those in need due to COVID-19," Kaelin said. "Most of our donations are going to food banks or COVID-19 emergency relief funds.”
The project not only gives back to the community with money, but also in ways the local artists haven't felt since before the pandemic.
“The people in this book had a chance to be published and had a chance to create something that will outlive themselves," said Kaelin.
Being able to publish their work and share their stories with each other again.
The Social Gap Experiment book can be purchased on Amazon.
More information on the project itself can be found on Kaelin's website.
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