June 29, 2022

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CSU San Marcos To Unveil Exhibit Documenting Year of the Pandemic – NBC 7 San Diego

The University Library at Cal State San Marcos will present a virtual reception for the exhibit “Stories & Snapshots: Documenting a Year of the Pandemic” Tuesday night, a virtual exhibit showcasing participants’ personal stories through photography, writing and multimedia.

The exhibit premieres at 6 p.m. in an event that will feature contributions to CSUSM’s Together/Apart COVID-19 Community Memory Archive collection website.

Stories & Snapshots focuses on the resiliency of members of the CSUSM campus and surrounding community over the last year.

“The exhibit and archive help provide solace and connection during a time of fear and separation and allow us to reflect on our thoughts and feelings regarding the pandemic,” said Toni Olivas, CSUSM’s engagement and inclusion librarian.

“Both of these projects remind us of our shared humanity and shared experiences while also highlighting the beauty in a period of extreme struggle for so many people.”

The reception will include a panel discussion about the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the community, efforts by local cultural heritage institutions to document the pandemic and how participants of these projects have shown strength in sharing their personal reflections.

Panelists from the San Diego History Center and San Diego State University’s library will discuss their organizations’ pandemic memory-collecting initiatives. They will be joined by members of CSUSM’s University Library special collections and literature and writing studies departments.

“Cultural heritage institutions such as libraries, archives, historical societies and museums can play an important and active role in documenting history as it unfolds,” said Sean Visintainer, CSUSM’s head of special collections.

“In our profession, this is referred to as ‘rapid response collecting’ and has been used to document man-made and natural disasters in almost real time.

“Due to the isolating nature of the pandemic, we thought we should put together a collecting effort that could reach out virtually to our community — the people who live, study and work in North San Diego County — and enable them to participate safely from a distance,” Visintainer added.

The virtual exhibit is part of the library’s Context exhibit series. Created in 2004, the series has brought more than 30 exhibits to CSUSM. Before the fall 2020 semester, Context exhibits were displayed in the gallery on the third floor of the Kellogg Library building. This is the second virtual Context exhibit, shifting to an online format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Context library series has been supporting student learning and research through art installations for the past 17 years, and these physical and now virtual exhibits have explored a wide range of topics, including immigration, veterans, sustainability, prisons, globalization, homelessness and activism,” said Jennifer Fabbi, dean of the library.

The exhibit reception and panel discussion are free and open to the public. To RSVP, click here.

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