Artists Respond

As a tribute to all our angels with two feet on the ground…

For as long as we can remember, artists have been the people who have helped us bare loss, helped us celebrate small miracles, helped us interpret difficult times… Now is no different.  Most of you know that for 15 years Kent County artists have gathered for Women Helping Women, and at that gathering, our theme song has been Pam Ortiz’s ANGELS DON’T ALWAYS HAVE WINGS.  Now, we want to share this song as our tribute to all those working on the frontlines of the Novel Coronavirus fight from Doctors and Nurses, Fireman and Police, to Grocery store clerks, restaurant workers, teachers, janitors, and volunteers.
We, the arts and culture workers of Kent County salute you, our “Angels with two feet on the ground.”   Thank you.
Please enjoy this video of ANGELS from the 2015 Women Helping Women which took place just days before the sky fell on us.  There’s also a link to an original recording by Pam and Bob Ortiz and their former band TerraNova.   
As we think about how artists respond, please also read two poems by KCA Board Members and local celebrities Meredith Davies Hadaway and Robert Earl Price – both reflections in their own way on these times.
Finally, enjoy this stunning new virtual gallery exhibit from Carla Massoni and her artist Katherine Cox called SHELTER.
We will continue to update this page as a place for our artists to reflect on difficult times.  With hope, we will look at this as a time where artists have a State Mandated “Artist Residency” (in their own residence) and we cannot wait to see what they have done, nor can we wait to share it with you.
We leave you with this quote from President John F. Kennedy in 1963 about the power of Poetry, and for us, of the arts:
“When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.
The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state… In pursuing his perceptions of reality, he must often sail against the currents of his time. This is not a popular role…”


Synonyms for Faith

by Meredith Davies Hadaway

All day a lone goose stands on the floating 

dock. He nibbles at the water—stretches, 


preens—but does not fly. No sign 


of the flock that was there the day 

before. I worry he’s injured or maybe 


lost his mate. The tide comes in, raising 


the wooden slats that hold him, then 

retreats. Ducks crowd by and leave again. 


The sun moves down the river, tossing 


amber light across the lower layer of clouds. 

Still there, now a silhouette against the glowing 


sky. There is no lonelier sound than the cry 


of just-one-goose—unless you hear another 

from further down the river. I can’t be sure.


I only know the goose is gone now. 


That when I look again, I see a pair 

of shadows wing their way along 


the river’s silver surface. 

Well, You Needn’t 

by Robert Earl Price

You needn’t console me, needn’t apologize

Each of us is responsible. We have enabled this.

Do you remember that time?

That minute when you looked the other away

A blind witness

Do you remember how quiet it was that time? 

When you pretended not to hear

As if artificial silence would make you

A deaf witness

Do you remember that moment?

The second that caught you standing silent

In the presence of lies

A mute witness

Collaborators all without a degree of separation

You needn’t explain 

Nobody noticed

No one saw the sky turn into granite

No one heard the warning of the wind

No one said the river is now poison


You needn’t tell us to hunker down

We already squat on our haunches

Waiting for a change of plans

To map our path forward

The way of things has a rule

That insists no rule lasts forever

The fact checkers know

That weeping willows are not submissive

Those who listen know

That lost songbirds are irreplaceable 

We have witnessed foreshadowing

That proves that chaos is inevitable 

You needn’t deny it

We have all sensed it

That nagging certainty

Something akin to a warning 

A dim logic that sows the obvious

Over barren and fallow noggins 

You needn’t explain

We know there is no gilded gate 

Eventually we will all windup 

Confined to quarters 

Hunkered down 

As priests in white masks compute our odds

We lock the doors to our cells

Complicit in our selfish silence

They say a check is in the mail

And forecast a fair election 

They want us to roll the dice again

Well you needn’t


*Thelonious Monk playing “Well, You Needn’t,”