These times are very different for Sara Norine, who used to spend her days bringing art to her community: to various festivals, to students at the Morean Arts Center, and to the Family Resources Youth Enrichment Program at the Thomas “Jet” Jackson Recreation Center at Wildwood Park, where she is the arts program facilitator.
Norine calls herself a nomadic art teacher, sharing the ideas that everyone is an artist, that art is a basic human right and that human expression is healthy.
“I was feeling very uncertain about how I would continue my mission,” she said.
When the coronavirus pandemic started, after many Zoom meetings with students, she began focusing on mail art, a movement centered on sending small works of art through the postal service.
“The mail art movement had all the same values that I do as an artist,” she said. “It’s also a complement to all this digital communication. It’s slow, it’s more private.”
Reflecting on the void of tourists in St. Petersburg led her to think of postcards and the concept of the postcard as a way to communicate with each other.
The St. Pete Postcard Project was born.
Thanks to grants for materials from the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance and private donors, Norine is sending out postcard packets to her students and other community members who want to participate.
The packets include a flyer about the project and a blank postcard: Decorate the front; write a message on the back. It’s addressed to Norine at the Morean Arts Center and comes with postage.
Packets also include a little magazine that includes the four main principles of mail art: Everyone is an artist, materials are everywhere, communication is art and interconnection is everything.
It also includes suggested techniques for creating mail art, including collages of found images, printmaking with rubber stamps, painting, upcycling and anything that can be sent via mail including music, sound art and poetry.
The cards will be posted in the windows of the Morean Arts Center and Articles Art Gallery for June Art Walk and will remain up through the rest of the month.
With the help of the Duncan McClellan Gallery, Norine’s Youth Enrichment Program students got packets, along with essential supplies like hand sanitizer and a ball of yarn to use for the finger-knitting she’d taught them.
Packets also went out to Girl Scouts and artists from the Articles gallery in St. Petersburg.
Norine said every individual who requests the packets will get one until she runs out. To get a packet, email your home address to email@example.com. People can donate to the project for the materials for her to make more.
Another option is to design your own 4- by 5 ¾-inch postcard and mail it to Sara Norine, Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL 33701.