Written by Mark Minelli, Library Intern, Kent State University
Creating from home
The world looks very different during a health pandemic. There are masks in the grocery store, 6 feet between friends, and school…what’s that again? Some have found creative ways of coping with these changes by broadcasting sourdough recipes on Instagram, tackling long overdue home projects, or building ornate plague scarecrows and erecting them the front yard as symbolic wards against COVID-19. Right?
Arising out of a social media event organized by local artists Tina Gutierrez, Reggie Kuhns, and René Micheo, “scarecoronas” began springing up in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood in early May. As popularity of the movement increased, these unusual and wonderful creations could be seen peppered throughout nearly every avenue of the community, drawing residents and visitors alike to look on in wonder.
The Northside way
The Northside community has a long-held reputation for creativity and inclusivity. And while these attributes may make it one of Cincinnati’s more vibrant neighborhoods, these ideals are more deeply rooted than a simple passion for local commerce and Italianate architecture.
The Scarecorona Collection, available for on-demand viewing on the Library's Digital Library, embodies a unified message of hope amidst the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. When Northside residents looked out on a new and frightening present, they chose to respond with a vision of a brighter and more whimsical future.
This collection is an effort to share that vision, spread that hope, and preserve it for generations to come. Take a virtual walk through the streets of Northside, maybe you’ll see your creation. If you don’t and wish you had? Let us know!
Something for everyone
This collection of digital images is a collaborative effort between the Library and me, a Kent State University graduate student. Since the onset of the shelter-in-place orders and social distancing measures of this past March, I had been interested in investigating art as a response to coronavirus fears.
When the scarecorona movement appeared, as a Northside resident, I saw an opportunity to complete my Master of Library and Information Science degree through an internship designed to capture and record these wonderful creations.
The coordinated efforts between the Library, myself, and event organizers resulted in the recording of nearly 300 scarecoronas. From cardboard dragons soaring over sidewalks to elegant ballerinas in medieval era plague masks, the Scarecorona Collection has something for everyone.
An adventure at your fingertips
The Digital Library is home to a vast variety of library resources accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Wherever the internet can be accessed, an adventure can be found. Some popular favorites include:
- Audubon’s Birds of America
- Cincinnati’s Brewing History
- Cincinnati Vaudeville Programs
- Ohio River Floods
The scarecoronas add to this legacy of preserving Cincinnati’s history and culture, with a one-of-a-kind collection that surprises and inspires with each image.
As the coronavirus persists, so do we. But, if you find yourself in need of little light and a little whimsy, please check out the Library’s Digital Scarecorona Collection. And, maybe, dust off those old Halloween decorations a little early and build a scarecorona of your own.