The Covid-19 virus may be trying to drive us apart, literally and figuratively, but it has found a vigorous opponent in one Pittsfield artist. Have you noticed the mosaics that have started showing up in conspicuous locations throughout Berkshire County? They say “2GTHR”, and they are the work of Pittsfield artist Peter Vacchina.
Vacchina is a Pittsfield native. After teaching high school science in schools around the world (Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, England, Italy, California and Massachusetts), he came back to Pittsfield with a stronger-than-ever appreciation for the value of community. And now that the corona virus has attacked his community, he wanted to find a way to spread the word of gratitude to all the people who are so bravely serving others in these uncertain times.
As a sculptor and mosaic-maker, Vacchina is trying to make the best possible use of the tools and talents available to him. “I felt a need to do something to help out during this pandemic,” he says, “more than just doing my part by staying home and physically distancing myself. So many people are doing so much, and many of them are putting themselves at risk of getting very ill while they help us stay healthy.
“My daughter works at Berkshire Medical Center. I see her pull out of her driveway to go to work every day, already wearing a mask. That’s what called me to action! I feel the need to communicate somehow, to participate somehow, to help in some way. Being an artist, I want to do my part by using art to send a message of HOPE to everyone, the message that we’re all in this 2GTHR”
Vacchina is using the sides of cinder blocks as canvas for the mosaics. The blocks are portable, weatherproof, and heavy enough to be stable if placed outdoors. To create the mosaic, he cements pieces of broken tiles and mirror. Then he puts the blocks in the back of his car, drives to locations where people are making a meaningful contribution to the community —not just medical facilities but also businesses that are helping out — and asks if they would accept to display a mosaic in honor of what they are doing for us. Then they choose a spot on their site for the mosaic, with enough visibility to send its message of HOPE to the wider community.
Vacchina started this project three weeks ago. The mosaics take time to produce, and he has so far put out 15 of them. This Monday, he will place five more. The placements go as far north as Lanesboro, and on Monday he’ll be scouting locations in Sheffield. So keep an eye out for them, and join Peter Vacchina in thanking the people who are helping us get through these difficult times.
See more of Peter Vacchina’s work here.