The Clear Day Project: To create a living theater project geared toward groups in NYC most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Less than a year ago, the dedicated team at Mount Sinai Hospital saved my life.
After two surgeries, including a thirteen-hour open heart procedure, and nearly 2 weeks in the hospital, I gained a first-hand perspective on the value of all hospital employees. The entire staff was critical in my surgery and recovery. Needless to say, I am indebted to their cause. When news of the recent outbreak started, I knew it was my time to return the favor.
I teamed up with two of my fellow Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama Classmates (Dan Amboyer and Kersti Bryan) to create a project that would help support the staff at a hospital that I hold close to my heart ( literally.) Tapping into an amazing network of artists and creators in different disciplines from all over the country, we started “Songs for Mt. Sinai,” which brings messages of hope, joy and thanks by the arts community to their entire hospital network of over 42,000 employees.
These messages of hope have reached Mt. Sinai hospital workers through screens located throughout the hospital system and through email, town halls, and social medias.
As that program launched, we knew there was a wider swath of the public who were also due recognition and some gratitude. So we took our idea and built it into something more ambitious.
We call it The Clear Day Project.
THE CLEAR DAY PROJECT name was inspired by the painting by William Orpen, “The Somme: On a Clear Day” which depicts the shocking beauty Orpen saw on the horizon after his return to the fields of the Battle of the Somme in World War I. Over a million men were killed or wounded, and yet, the fields and mountains in his painting seem glorious. His canvas almost made one forget what happened at that same spot only a few months prior. In the absolute darkness of war, through his art, he found light.
The arts have a special way of connecting us in difficult times. In these lonely and mournful weeks — where nearly 100,000 Americans have been lost (91,582 as of May 19, 2020 and at current rate, we will surpass 100,000) — Dan, Kersti and myself felt a sense of obligation to honor those who have been continually overlooked and under appreciated. So why not use the inherent creativity of our community to unite in new, creative ways?
Let’s create a living art project and send messages of solidarity to those who have been on the front lines in different fields all over New York City and the US. We’re talking about grocery store clerks, cab drivers, pharmacists and the like. If Art Basel is for the well-to-do and connected, The Clear Day Project is for the too often underpaid and forgotten. I am not sure anyone has had a “clear day” since this pandemic began.
Maybe a little art can get us one step closer.
Right now we are in partnership with New York City Center (NYCC) to create an event for graduating medical students at Mt. Sinai and for women and families in the maternity ward. Clear Day Project has received support from Broadway Cares and a number of other extraordinary resources. We are now brainstorming how else we can be of service.
We have had more than 20 Carnegie Mellon SOD folks join us in making videos of encouragement for “Songs for Mt. Sinai”.
In conversation with the hospital we have learned the high price these frontline workers have paid. They have lost friends and patients at an astonishing rate and their families are under increasing stress. They need comfort, delight and encouragement more than ever.
We are hopeful you, our Carnegie Mellon family, will be part of comforting those who need our gifts the most.
Contact us to see how you can help!
To see more amazing videos that CMU alums and others have created visit us @cleardayproject on Instagram or https://www.cleardayproject.org/watch