How Seattle area artists are helping farmworkers

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Real Estate

In the beginning of the pandemic, arts educator Ana María Campoy got a message from one of the teachers she worked with in Mount Vernon asking for help finding masks for students and their families, many of whom still had to work in person in the food industry. As Campoy rallied her colleagues to help (most out of work at the time) she was flooded with messages from around the state: the schools she worked with, most in rural and farming communities, needed help.

Using the resources she and her fellow artists had in spades: empty theater spaces, creative skills and eagerness to help, they came together to form WashMasks, with a mission to get masks to farmworkers and their families.

Nearly two years later, Campoy and her fellow volunteers have created a mutual aid organization in support of Washington state’s farmworkers with a wide-ranging mission “to provide care, creative joy and community.”

What started with that single text in May 2020 grew exponentially: at the end of 2021, WashMasks and partner Olympia Family Theatre received a grant through the CDC Foundation (“Yep, that CDC,” says Campoy) to increase vaccine confidence in farmworking communities.

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