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Artists Launch ‘Creative Aid’ for Businesses Struggling During Pandemic

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Cal State Fullerton students in communications, education, nursing and other fields have been stepping up to help communities in need during the COVID-19 pandemic — and Titan visual artists are no exception.

Seniors in Fernando Del Rosario’s graphic design class helped him launch Creative Aid, a project that provides design services to hard-hit businesses at no cost.

“When the quarantine happened, I knew I needed to pivot the direction of my class,” said the lecturer in art. “Instead of giving them projects to work on, I started to reach out to small, local businesses around me, asking them what we could do to help them.”

“The issue with most small- or medium-sized businesses during COVID-19 is visibility,” explained Kelsey Connolly, who graduated in May with a B.F.A. in art-graphic and interactive design. “A lot of these businesses are struggling to stay connected with their regulars or be found by new customers. Creative Aid has been able to relieve the stress of marketing for them.”

During the spring semester, the class created four to six weeks’ worth of social media content for more than a dozen businesses, at no charge, to help them during the pandemic. Some of those businesses, both local and out of state, include Figo Salon, Go VR Gaming, Hawthorne Elementary International Baccalaureate World School, Rice Bowl Express, Stacked Deli and Surfin’ Donuts.

“Every business had its own set of challenges that they wanted us to help them with. For example, Hawthorne Elementary wanted something for their 6th graders’ promotion so we designed promotion certificates and T-shirts,” shared Ciara Morris, who also graduated in spring with a B.F.A. in art-graphic and interactive design. “Figo Salon wanted social media posts to promote the purchase of gift cards for future visits once COVID-19 is over.”

Thirteen of Del Rosario’s 25 students have volunteered to continue the project through the summer to help additional businesses, including Kaila Gates, another recent alumna with a B.F.A. in art-graphic and interactive design.

“Once the semester was over, I knew I wanted to continue working with Fernando on this project,” she said. “It was a way I could give back with my time and creative services to any businesses that were struggling because of COVID-19.”

Like many artists, shelter in place orders have given Gates more time to create, attend virtual conferences and workshops, and work on virtual collaborations and daily art challenges.

“Even though these times have been incredibly hard, I am excited to see how the art and design world continue to have a positive impact in our communities and world,” she said.

Bill Matthew Dee, a graphic design major who plans to graduate in the fall, is also using this period of social distancing to focus on his art.

“The role of art during this pandemic is to help people understand that with a bit of creativity, a solution is possible,” said Dee. “An uplifting message can be brought out in the craft, such as fashioning signage to make people understand the safety measures for their well-being and the health of others.”

Contact: Lynn Juliano,