She’s chronicling a lengthy recovery from Covid; Honesty and making art is getting her through it
Remember Freedom Baird? She is the North Cambridge artist (and a founder of the Cambridge Advanced Learning Association) with a recent public work beside the Minuteman Bikeway near Spy Pond – the grass-filled 10-by-10-foot “home” was a temporary installation last year.
Since then, she has fought off Covid-19 for months, somehow persisting with her art and recounting in detail her medical issues from coronavirus.
In an email, her subject line summarizes 2020’s trials: “Getting through it with art.”
“I had a tough go of Covid-19 this past spring, and am now on the Covid-long-hauler journey, with slow-healing injury to heart and lungs. Not sure how much of my former activity I’ll eventually return to, but for now I’m back to work at Tufts, which was a really important goal after five months on medical leave.” She is a full-time educational-technology specialist.
The illness took the breath out of her art, but she did produce a small piece, “Pomegranate, Thermometer, Apple,” for the Getty Museum’s 2020 #artchallenge. It was included in the Getty’s book, “Off the Walls: Inspired Re-Creations of Iconic Artworks.”
Book sale profits are being donated to Artist Relief, offering resources to artists across the United States during the pandemic. The project was featured on the PBS Newshour, described by Annalisa Stephan, Getty Museum assistant director of digital content.
Baird has also written about healing and knitting, and offers her experiences and health information to serve as a resource for other long-haulers. “I’m opting for a kind of radical transparency,” she said, “because so much is still unknown about the Covid long-haul.
“In a way it’s all part of my practice, which draws in the art, the science, the medicine, the human experience and the natural world. Because it’s all interconnected.”