Fundraising project together/apart supports Pittsburgh artists, musicians, and gig workers affected by coronavirus | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Fundraising project together/apart supports Pittsburgh artists, musicians, and gig workers affected by coronavirus

click to enlarge together/apart designs featured on t-shirts. - PHOTO: TOGETHER/APART
Photo: together/apart
together/apart designs featured on t-shirts.
A local jewelry maker and a musician have joined forces to launch together/apart, a new fundraising project for local artists, musicians, and gig workers affected by the COVID-19 shutdown.

Susan Pedrazzi of the Pittsburgh bands Sweat and Tiny Wars, and Elizabeth Sanchez of the jewelry company Horsethief, created two designs that are for sale as t-shirts, tote bags, and stickers. Now available at TeeSpring, 60% of all together/apart sales will go to the PGH artists emergency fund.

The designs include one that reads “I Love You. I Love You, Stay. I Love You, Stay Away.” with a graphic of two hands, while the other has text reading “Come Together Stay Apart.” Both designs feature a round image meant to represent the sun.

"We wanted to come up with a creative representation in words and simple designs that communicate the importance of coming together as a community while staying physically apart,” says Sanchez. “The circle represents the sun as a symbol of hope; no matter what, it is always gonna come up and when it does, we're all gathered under that very same sun."

They're also inviting area artists, musicians, and gig workers to visit the project's Instagram page as a way to "increase their visibility and to share their personal experiences navigating these uncharted waters," says a press release.

Both women personally understand what their community is now going through. Sanchez says she has lost income due to the postponement of pop-ups and other events where she would usually sell her silver, Western-inspired necklaces, earrings, rings, and other goods (they can still be purchased through the Horsethief website). Pedrazzi has also taken a financial hit as any future gigs have been either canceled or put on hold.

“To make money as a band, you have to play shows and sell band merchandise and records,” says Pedrazzi. “Having band merch made and recording an album isn't cheap. Without the ability to play shows or tour, you can't save up in order to sustain your band.”

But the loss, Sanchez says, extends beyond the financial.

“I have also lost the opportunity to make face-to-face connections with customers who support me,” says Sanchez, who adds that she also can't teach her metalwork classes at Workshop DIY School. “I often have the same folks coming out to support me so I will miss seeing those familiar faces.”
click to enlarge Horsethief at the 2019 Spirit Summer Recess. - CP PHOTO: AMANDA WALTZ
CP photo: Amanda Waltz
Horsethief at the 2019 Spirit Summer Recess.
In addition to fellow artists and musicians, they chose to include gig workers – a term commonly applied to freelancers, or those who generate income from on-demand services like ridesharing and food delivery - because the two fields go hand-in-hand. Sanchez points out that “gig workers are often artists or musicians as well.”

Sanchez sees together/apart as a way to provide some relief as state and local governments scramble to come up with resources for vulnerable workers, an effort she believes will ultimately come up short.

“I think that literally everyone is at a loss,” she says. “The financial aid and specifically unemployment for self-employed folks is not happening fast enough. And when it does become available, for most people, it's probably not going to cut it. That is why we are looking for ways to help each other right now.”

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