Attempting to keep up with the news cycle, particularly for a mostly monthly paper, is a futile task anytime — but even more so now. As I write this, less than two days before our June issue goes to the printer, Philadelphia and cities across the country are dealing with the aftermath of looting and destruction after demonstrations protesting the police-involved death of another unarmed black man (George Floyd), turned violent. Curfews were imposed, and Mayor Kenney ordered establishments in the city to close early on May 31 after looting continued and spread beyond Center City.
We’re still not done covering COVID-19 — how it changed everything in no time at all, where we are because of the pandemic and where we think we’re headed. And now, the unrest needs to become part of the mix, too. We are full up on hurting and powerlessness in our society, and the causes are many and go back well over a century. Whatever “normal” was, it’s gone, and some of it shouldn’t be missed. The big question revolves around how we’re going to recover. And that’s going to take more than wearing masks and giving people an extra check or two.
Art can be especially powerful during this time, even with galleries and museums shut during the lockdown and future funding in jeopardy due to the COVID-19 economic nosedive. So I’m grateful to longtime Co-op member and artist Richard Metz for suggesting that the Shuttle make space regularly to feature local artists and their work. We agreed, decided to call it “Artists in Our Aisles”, and it debuted last month.
Thus far, we’ve profiled three artists, and will continue to do so as long as we get submissions. So please get in touch with Richard if you’d like to be considered. Between “Artists” and the “Weavers Words” verse selections from shoppers, we’re becoming a regular literary mag.
Stay safe everyone. Stand up and speak up. Catch you in the pages next month.