‘As a community of artists, we can do something to help’: Minneapolis artist the driving force behind using original art to feed the hungry

You may have heard the saying that art feeds the mind — and the soul.

But Minneapolis-based contemporary abstract artist Sandra Felemovicius is doing her part for those who need nourishment for the body.

"The COVID art project really started when this pandemic hit," she said. "Being an artist, I thought, let’s inspire people."

So in late March, she decided to find a way to fight hunger during the pandemic.

"There’s so many needs you know, that we have right now," Felemovicius declared. "But it’s incredible to think that there are so many people going to bed hungry."

The Second Harvest Food Bank said, right now, one in eight Minnesotans are combating the effects of hunger.

Felemovicius, a professional artist for two decades, said she was inspired by her husband, Isaac, who spent long hours at the hospital as the coronavirus spread.

"He’s a surgeon, he had to go to the hospital every single day and help people," she explained. "He inspired me to start something and to inspire people at home, in a creative way."

Felemovicius now has a network of dozens of artists taking part in the project called Tap Into Your Creativity.

"Her army of artists, I mean you can see the proof is in the pudding," said Edward Lentsch, a St. Louis Park-based artist. "I can’t write the checks for the big money, but sometimes if I can donate a piece of art, you know, other people can."

Felemovicius holds live video chats among the artists, using social media to compare notes and ideas during self-isolation.

But she also does a lot of legwork, scouting out buyers for the donated, collected works.

"They’re opening their studios, and showing off their processes, talking about their inspirations and really opening up," Felemovicius explained. "I’m looking for collectors that want to buy the whole collection."

So far, she’s collected $14,000 — money that could provide as many as 42,000 meals.

She donates the proceeds to Feeding America, a national food bank.

Second Harvest is a part of that network.

Lentsch said it’s a rewarding tradeoff.

"Artists have resources that other people don’t have," he said." That creativity, that is a big hug that the community needs. Artists can deliver the goods, no doubt."

Felemovicius said she hopes to keep doing this for a year or so.

After that, she’s planning to put together a book, actually two volumes; a catalog of works from the participating artists.

Some of the proceeds from that will also be used to support Feeding America.

You can find out more about the program on Felemovicius’s website.

"As a community of artists, we can do something to help," Felemovicius said. "It feels really amazing to be part of a community that is actually making a difference, to really dig in as human beings, but with a good cause, with our heart."