Creativity United

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“The idea came, months of ago… sort of in the beginning of when this all started to feel as big as it actually is.” 

When COVID-19 hit, the ripple effects from having to social distance and shutting down businesses definitely affected the economy, and just households in general. There isn’t one person who can say that the pandemic has not hit them in one sense or another, but luckily there is also a good amount of people who are seeing an opportunity to help. 

Take Jason Rothman, a creative director based in the City of Brotherly Love with HUb Philly who saw a way to harness his skills for our city, and beyond. 

“Being a creative director and a designer, I was trying to think of something I could do and how I could use my powers for good,” says Rothman. “What project could we do to help out? Part of my job and what I do at the Agency I work at, HUb, is bringing together teams of creatives to work on projects. It was a slight right turn to what I’m doing every day for clients to bring together a group of creatives to work on a project and raise some money to try to help.” 

That incentive to help turned into COGRID-19, a series of collaborative art prints featuring 19 designers from the cities they represent compiled together onto a poster which people can buy. The proceeds from COGRID will go to different organizations that Rothman says “donate to the right causes for the right time.” 

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Coming from the Bay Area, it was easy for Rothman and HUb (they have offices in both Philly and San Francisco) to narrow down the first two cities that COGRID would represent. But getting this project started required what the creative director does best, bringing people together.

“It was a total experiment, I didn’t know if it was going to work,” explains Rothman. “I didn’t want to tell anyone what to create. I basically said, listen, the idea here is how you’re feeling in this time—it’s really just that. It was really interesting to see what came out of it because it’s just been such a rollercoaster of emotions for everybody involved, so it was really great to see the threads between the work. But also just people’s different and super random perspectives on how they’re dealing.The mixture of pictures became a really nice metaphor for the mixture of emotions that everyone’s feeling right now. It gave you an opportunity to look at the poster and take a step in and really look at all of the 19 different pieces of artwork in it and kind of decipher them.” 

Rothman has high hopes for the project for as long as the need is there, and it’s not stopping at just the two initial locations either. In fact, COGRID will now be making its way to both Minneapolis and Boston as well, with more plans to expand. 

“What I’m hoping to do moving forward is to kind of find sponsors to help me out in different cities to connect with the good peeps and keep it going. Also finding organizations that are helping those specific cities,” says Rothman.

In Philadelphia, so far, the project has sold about 150 different prints with the money going directly to The Philadelphia Black Giving Circle, while the prints being sold in the Bay Area will go to the Tipping Point Community. 

“The Philadelphia Black Giving Circle is focused on the Black Community here in Philly, which I thought was really important in these times. Same thing with the Tipping Point Community as well, they’re focused on that as well so I thought those were very worthy causes to give the money too,” explains Rothman. “I want to keep pushing COGRID as long as there is a need. I think the world is going to need money towards this pandemic for many years to come. The exciting part about it for me, it can be replicated in basically any city.” 

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The best place to purchase the COGRID-19 prints is through it’s website, cogrid19.com. The impact of this pandemic has been significant, but hopefully, the impact from those looking to make a difference in a time of need will be even more consequential—even just for peace of mind for those who are participating. 

“It’s been great. Everyone’s feeling all of these different emotions throughout the process and throughout the pandemic,” adds Rothman. “I think having a project like this for me, it just made me feel a bit more settled and made me feel good because I was doing something. Now that it’s come to fruition, I’m just really excited about it and I just love getting good people together to make beautiful things, especially for a good cause to help people who are less fortunate—that’s an added bonus.” 

To learn more information, visit COGRID-19’s website

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