Artist’s social experiments prove a hit with residents weary of pandemic

Courtesy of Karen Druker
A downtown Los Altos visitor adds to a list in which people were asked to describe their feelings about the pandemic in one word.

Karen Druker tried a social experiment the weekend of July 11-12, one she said proved more than fairly popular.

The Los Altos Hills artist came up with a creative idea: putting posters up on First Street and Main Street on the street-side windows of empty buildings. The posters invite passersby to write one word describing their pandemic experience.

“The words range from ‘happy’ to ‘sad’ to ‘drunk’ to ‘exhausted’ to ‘hopeful’ to ‘obscene,’” she said. “It has been fun to walk downtown and see what has been added.”

Druker has been involved in connecting over the pandemic in other ways as well. She has been collecting and cataloging painted rocks around the community for a special Los Altos History Museum COVID-19 exhibition planned for next summer.

“I dug up and I painted and primed 20 rocks a day from my yard’s dry creek and offered them in a pile with a sign that said ‘Take Me – Paint Me,’ for people to paint something related to the coronavirus experience on them,” she said. “For two months, I put out 20 ready-to-paint rocks a day on the path in front of my home – and they disappeared by nightfall every day.”

Druker sees the enthusiastic reaction to her posters and painted rocks as therapeutic for local residents.

“The signs are proof that we are not alone – others feel the same emotions as we do,” she said.

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