Ethan Mazzio, an OU Regional and City Planning Student and current Planning Assistant for the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, recently offered opening remarks for the debut of Food Odes: A Pandemic Recovery Project through Broadside Poetry.
A temporary art installation designed to raise awareness of food insecurity exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 4 broadsides of “Food Odes” were composed by a small team of minority artists, developed by a minority-owned printing company, and displayed by a minority-owned beer company in Automobile Alley in Oklahoma City.
Mazzio’s speech discussed food insecurity in Oklahoma City and how it has worsened during the pandemic. He mentioned how 1 in 7 Oklahomans experience food insecurity. He also pointed out how, “In Oklahoma, the Regional Food Bank and its partner agencies have witnessed a 30% increase in need since the start of the pandemic.” He explained that community leaders, citizens, and government officials must make choices that help Oklahoma communities solve the problem of food insecurity. He called on the audience to “turn our heads and hands from reactive empathy to structured compassion.”
The Gibbs College of Architecture applauds Ethan for his involvement in calling attention to this problem that affects so many Oklahomans.
Individuals can view the installation in the windows of Vanessa House Beer Company throughout the month of October.