The Creation of Resilienza Project

In early 2020 a global pandemic was locking down countries around the world. Individuals and communities were becoming isolated giving rise to mass uncertainty, anxiety, and depression. Italy had gone into full lockdown and the world watched with impending doom as COVID-19 took thousands of lives. News reports of the horrors occupied the headlines while stories of resiliency and community came to the surface showing the best of humans. Italians singing in from rooftops together. Much of the world was still unaware of the changes to come while the pandemic swept across the planet like a tsunami.

At the time I was living in Monteverde, Costa Rica, a small and remote mountain community. In the beginning no one was wearing masks but then it was not long until Costa Rica started reporting it’s first cases of COVID-19 and then the day came that it showed up in our community. Who was it? Where it come from and how? How could this be possible? We were living in a very remote place and yet suddenly the pandemic had struck home. Very quickly around the community individuals retreated into their homes. The traditional greeting of handshaking and face kissing had come to and end. Fist bumps and elbow bumps became the norm. Children were held home from school and smiles disappeared only to be replaced by masks of all colors.

It was a precarious time, with new government mandates restricting travel to the point of shutting off the entire country from any outside travel from tourists. The economy was at a choke point with more than 75% unemployment in our small community, the realities of the pandemic were just starting to take hold.

In conversations with friends and family around the world we heard different stories, and while life in the United States continue very much as normal, political officials downplayed and passed blame for just how and where this supposed pandemic had originated. In France family members reported mass lockdowns and restrictions and with the world watching the tragedy befalling Italy I knew it would only become a matter of time.

On May 11, 2020 I decided to launch the Resilienza Project. A weekly positive message art campaign designed to encourage, support and inspire the community around us. We must maintain our resolve to be positive. The project was supported by local artists who immediately stepped forward to create the weekly chalk murals that were done on a large public chalk board in central Monteverde. With the help of a good friend, I was able to arrange funding to pay the artist and thus kicked off the project.

To date we have completed more than 100 positive message murals which have gone to be shared around the world. The best weekly images are then saved, created into digital art and put in our online store. Proceeds from the art works go directly back into funding more weekly chalk mural as well as monthly painted murals.
As part of my original vision for creating the Resilienza Project I had imagined over 100 cities around the world each participating every Monday morning with a new positive message mural. Like a a burst of light upon the planet, flowers opening and then closing in unison we could inspire and unite humanity to vision a better future and to maintain positive resolve towards making the best out of the many challenges that lay ahead.

Writing this now in May 2022 it has been two years since the project first began and my resolve remains the same. Over the next 30 years our planet will face some of the biggest collective challenges it has ever tackled. From climate change, to economic collapse, war to social political change. We must create and move towards the world we wish to live in. We must become resilient and celebrate resiliency. We must work together to survive.

It is a part of our human story to grow and adapt.
It is our birthright to choose the future we wish to experience.

Shields Bialasik
March 29, 2022

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