Episode 62: Avi Prager

Chris and Jill are joined by Avi Prager who shares their perspective on life during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, and finding hope by bringing new life to the old.

Avi Prager podcast cover. Black and white charcoal drawing of Avi supported by crutches in a standing position wearing a striped shirt and glasses.

Interview Date | June 5, 2020

JILL: Welcome to the DisTopia podcast, where we look at Disability from the inside out. [peaceful music fades in] My name is Jill Vyn, and I’m the cohost of this podcast with my friend and colleague, Chris Smit. 

What you are listening to now is the first of two interrelated components of our My Dearest Friends project, both of which have been generously underwritten by the Ford Foundation. The My Dearest Friends podcast, which is produced by DisTopia, is a series of recorded conversations with Disabled people about their individual experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the personal, cultural, and political alterations it has triggered. These informal conversations give our guests the opportunity to share personal experiences of sheltering in place and to engage in conversations around deeper questions raised about the value of Disabled people, the core values of the Disability culture, as well as our hopes, fears, and strategies for living an authentic and pride-filled Disabled life.

The second component of the My Dearest Friends project is created in partnership with Disabled artist Oaklee Thiele, who is creating black and white illustrations that represent our collective response to our new and uncertain realities as a Disabled community. Designed as an open invitation to the Disabled community around the world, we invite all of you to participate. More information can be found on Instagram @MyDearestFriendsProject, Facebook, and on our website, DisArtNow.org.

As is true for many of you, our desire for this project is to share our experiences as a Disabled community, to disrupt ableist beliefs, to celebrate a culture whose lived experience of Disability necessitates flexibility and creativity, and to validate Disabled voices and perspectives in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

[peaceful music slowly fades into fun, mellow music break]

AVI: My name’s Avi Prager. I am an artist and writer living in Seattle. I work a lot with fiber arts. And I have multiple disabilities, but very joyful person.

CHRIS: So, we actually met a week ago or two or something.

JILL: [laughs] We did not put two and two together until doing research last week when we were gonna meet. And I’m looking at your work, and I’m like, oh!

CHRIS: [laughs]

JILL: I know who Avi is! This is so awesome!

CHRIS: [chuckling]

AVI: Yeah. We met in the image description workshop.

JILL: Yeah.

AVI: Everything’s kind of wild in the world and also in my life right now. There’s, on top of the pandemic, there are all of these protests, which are so important. And I don’t know about you, but in Seattle, where I live, it is scary, and there’s a lot of police violence. And as a Disabled person, that is hard for me because I wanna be out there on the front lines. But because of my congenital bone disease, I can’t, I already have some fractures that I’m actually getting surgery for soon. And I would just break my whole body. [laughs]

JILL: Yeah, we don’t want that to happen.

AVI: No, I don’t want that to happen either. I’m already fragile enough as it is. Yeah, things are wild in my life and in the world. And it’s been hard for me to actually do art lately because I just am so distracted, and I’m so unfocused and trying to learn and unlearn all of these things. And I have like this overwhelming urge to make the world better, but I don’t know how to start. And all the projects I’ve been working on kind of feel like they need to change a little bit, if that makes sense.

CHRIS: Totally makes sense. Totally makes sense.

AVI: Yeah.

CHRIS: As we’ve been reading some of your poetry and looking at your work and thinking about the way you do your work, I wonder if you might just talk a little bit about, especially with what you just said, right, it’s hard to do art right now. What does it mean to do art, for you? Why is art important?

AVI: For me, art is important and has been for most of my life because it’s a little bit like a therapy for me to deal with the things I’ve dealt with, whether they’re mental or physical disabilities, homophobia, transphobia. I’ve dealt with trauma in my life, and that’s just a way for me to kind of express my pain, but also, it’s a way for me to survive. And that’s always been my kind of philosophy of art, is it’s a way to survive joyfully and not just survive, but kind of go to the next level. And I think everybody deserves not just to survive, but to survive joyfully.

CHRIS: How early did you know that about yourself?

AVI: Not super early. I kind of came into it pretty recently. But I’m a late bloomer [chuckling] in a lot of ways. So, if I look back on things and be like, oh, wow. I was doing that for that reason or stuff like that. So, looking back on all the art I’ve made in my life, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it’s always been very joyful, even when it’s about sad subjects.

[fun, mellow music break]

JILL: When you’re talking about learning and unlearning, I’m really curious about what that means and if that’s always been the case, or if you’re finding that you’re having to learn and unlearn, or naturally learning and unlearning as a result of what’s happening in the world today.

AVI: Well, I think I’ve always been pretty social justice-minded, but I think we always learn stuff as we get older. And as people, we make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes and have to learn and unlearn all these systematic things that are imprinted onto us at an early age. And we have to work to kind of come to a good point. I’m currently working myself on the racism that I have. ‘Cause we all have, because of the society we are in, racist thoughts, racist beliefs that we have to unlearn. And I’m working on that really hard right now and trying to figure out where that comes into place with my art. And if it does, how?

CHRIS: I’m wondering how ableism and some of the issues that Disabled culture deals with on a daily basis too, I’m wondering how those unlearning and learning also sort of— I mean, those seem to take place in your work from very early on. It is curious to think about how those motivations, how they match up with what you’re talking about now, right, and trying to figure out where to put that learning and unlearning in your art today. Is there a moment in your life when that Disability Justice lens begins to make sense in a different way than it did prior?

AVI: I think there’s not a moment. I think there’s just like a lot of moments. I was born with a genetic metabolic bone disease. So, while I was pretty mobile in most my youth, I grew up with disability. And I think it just a lot of small, tiny moments instead of one big aha moment. A lot of like, oh, this is a step closer to unlearning ableism than I have. Because even Disabled people have ableism ingrained in them. So, yeah, I’ve been unlearning myself different ableist beliefs that hold true to myself and to others, against myself and against others. And unlearning those is really important for me.

JILL: Yeah. When we think about growing up, at what point did you begin to realize or identify with, if you do, with the Disability community? When was your like, oh, ableism. When’s this realization?

AVI: I think it wasn’t until, probably like my mid-20s, actually. So, pretty recently. I’m in my mid-30s currently. And I knew I was Disabled early on, but I just didn’t see myself in that way. In a very ableist way, I was like, I’m not like those people. And then I had to unlearn like, no. There’s no like “those people.” I said that in air quotes, just so everybody knows [chuckles] who’s listening to the audio. You know, there’s different experiences, and it’s not a bad thing. It’s my experience that, you know, I couldn’t run as a kid. I couldn’t do certain things. But it wasn’t until my mid-20s when I started to lose my mobility even more than I started to be like— And I was volunteering at a feminist bookshop at the time. There’s a little section on disability rights. Visited that occasionally and kind of opened my eyes to other people’s experiences that matched or did not match completely but mine.

CHRIS: We talked to an activist yesterday who talked about sort of finding those ancestral moments, right? Where do you find those first voices?

AVI: For me, it also took me awhile to realize this, but my grandma was an amazing woman, and I look up to her a lot now. She’s not with us anymore, but she had my disease before it was known as a disease, before anyone knew about it. And she also survived polio. And she was this amazing, badass woman who was the most charitable, most kind-hearted person I’ve ever met. And I guess she’s like the ancestor for me. She’s my inspiration in a lot of ways and who I kind of, on my best days, I’m like her, and on my worst days, I aspire to be more like her!

CHRIS: Well, I mean, it sounds especially that this idea of surviving joyfully, I mean, that sounds like the genesis moment of that idea for you, is in her.

AVI: Oh, definitely.

[fun, mellow music break]

CHRIS: You know, Avi, that’s not, [chuckles] that’s not a normal turn of phrase, “to survive joyfully,” right? We don’t usually say that. We say we need to survive. You know, [chuckles] and when we do survive, it’s often oh, thank God we finally survived. Or it’s like we’ve gotten through something. But I wanna unpack that more, surviving joyfully. I mean, it’s in your work. Talk about that more.

AVI: I think that’s also related a lot to my faith. I’m Jewish. And I don’t know how much people know about Jewish traditions, but a lot of the celebrations are: they tried to kill us, we survived, now let’s eat! [laughs] And it’s just this joy that is very, in a way, defiant, like we got through this. We can get through anything else. And in my work, I work with a lot of kind of wild and chaotic colors that are very reminiscent to me of my childhood, which was hard for me. I had very supportive parents, but I also had a lot of mental illness issues. And I think the mix of those colors and the kind of sorrow is this joyful survival outcome. We have hard things that we go through. Everybody does. But they also can find small, even the tiniest moments of joy.

Like today, for my moment of joy is I walked to my dog, and when I got back into my bedroom/office space from doing that, he was already under the covers with his head just poking out! And that was just the brightest moment of joy I could have that day. Well, that’s today, I guess. That happens a lot. He’s right over there, just chilling out under the covers, looking at me. And it just, you know, finding just the small things, like a nice cloud, a sunset, or someone making a really stupid joke. [laughs] Like the classic Dad jokes always get me.

JILL: You’re talking about being in the moment.

AVI: Yeah.

JILL: But just—

AVI: It’s hard when you’re in pain or dealing with oppression or illness or anything like that. But it’s so important to, like you said, be in the moment and find, like it’s a mindfulness thing, joy.

JILL: Yeah, for sure. So, being in the moment right now for some people is really, mm, creates anger, sadness, mixed emotions, charged energy. I mean, it’s, for you in this moment on June 5th, what are those experiences that you’re, and emotions, that you’re going through today?

AVI: Today’s actually been really hard for me. I found out yesterday I’m probably gonna need surgery soon on both my legs, and later today I’m getting a hip injection. So, on the physical side, it’s very hard. And then on the more political, global side, it’s also very hard. But I think finding a way to make, what you said mix those emotions. You can be angry at the world and your situation and still be joyful at the same time. And it’s so difficult! Like, it’s not an easy thing at all. It’s definitely worth it to explore, I think, because anger is a really important emotion in a lot of ways. I don’t wanna dismiss anger, but also joy is important, too. Anger is how things change, but joy is how kind of people change, I think.

CHRIS: I think anger and joy have to both be present in some ways for them to be realized or felt truly. Art seems to be a way to let those two things live together, right? Because you can have a piece that is both angry and joyful. I think of your poem, for example, the hum poem, which for me and Jill was just such a powerful and really, well, it just seems to capture some of the things that you’re talking about. Would you be willing to read that?

AVI: Actually, I have one that I don’t have published, but I really like. It’s called And Now We Sing.

[peaceful, atmospheric music plays under the poem]

To come back with a crown

I swear, it’s better than dreams come true

This is not simply any head covering,

This wears perfects, bought with

My hoarded wealth of tears

It’s velvet purple

Frame gold

Diamond, ruby, emerald filled settings

I return royal

Striking down naysayers, deniers, apologists

Leaving the thieves of bodily autonomy beheaded

Say Revenge

Say Joy

Say Outlive

I came back

And now we sing

That one is just a little bit of like a survivor poem that just…you know, I’m a survivor of sexual assault. And a lot of people are in this world, sadly. I kind of was inspired by I don’t know if you knows the song by Kesha, Praying, where she sings about that she hopes her abuser kind of finds his way. And it’s a little bit like that for me. Where this royalty of coming back from a horrific experience and celebrating with family and friends that we’re alive, we’re surviving, we’re thriving, and we’re doing it joyfully despite what has happened to us.

JILL: That, again, goes back to your Jewish roots.

AVI: Oh, yeah. Always does for me!

JILL: Yeah.

AVI: There’s a little bit of Purim in there.

JILL: I have Jewish family members, and I’ve heard Purim. Is Purim when you make the interesting cookies too? Or is that—

AVI: Yeah! Those are because of Haman’s hat had three corners.

JILL: So, I don’t know the stories behind. But I know the cookies!

AVI: The cookies are so good too. [laughs]

CHRIS: Joyful, joyful cookies, you know?

AVI: Yeah.

JILL: They are. They really are joyful cookies, I have to say.

CHRIS: But it’s interesting. I come from a Judeo-Christian background. And of course, I know Esther and that story of Esther as well and about her influence and compassion. So, it’s just really interesting to hear that idea of coming back, being triumphant, and being a little bit like not prideful, but a bit like, I’m back.

AVI: Cocky.

CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

AVI: A little cocky’s not bad every once in a while as long as you have some humbleness, too. But it’s OK to brag that you got through hardships.

JILL: Well, you’re claiming. You’re taking back power that was taken from you.

AVI: Yeah. I think that’s important for everyone to do ‘cause everyone’s had power taken from them. Obviously, some more than others. [chuckles] But it’s important to claim your identity. My art page is actually AviAutonomous because autonomy is really important in my art and in my life. In my life, I have obviously, not right now because people can’t hug each other, but when my friends would come over before this pandemic, they would always embrace my wife. And they know I have issues with touch sometimes, so they would ask me, “How can I embrace you?” And I would either get a hug or spirit fingers. Because I feel like my autonomy with my friends are not just appreciated, but celebrated. And that’s really also a disability thing because, you know, some people, it hurts to touch them for physical or emotional reasons. And also, like a feminist issue: just don’t touch people without asking! [chuckles]

JILL: It’s interesting because autonomous, you’re not talking about it in terms of independence. You’re talking about it in terms of self-respect.

AVI: Yes. Actually, I don’t believe in independence very much. I believe in interdependence. Like, we all rely on each other. And I can rely on myself for certain things. Like I rely on myself for my own happiness. Oher people can make me happy, but I don’t expect people to make me happy. But interdependence is really important to me because it’s a community. We need to take care of each other to take care of ourselves.

CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah. It seems to me when I watch the news over the last week, especially with some of the police violence and the riots that are popping up all over the world and the protests really that, frankly, aren’t getting as covered as much as little skirmishes, it’s interesting that it seems like this idea of interdependence is so difficult in America. And I never thought about it as much as I have in the last couple months.

AVI: Mmhmm.

CHRIS: Like, on some ways, I’ve seen the interdependence alive and well because of COVID-19 and the pandemic. But then you have a week like we’ve just had, and it’s like, wait! We don’t actually understand interdependence.

AVI: Yeah.

CHRIS: I don’t know. Do you have thoughts about that?

AVI: I do. I’m trying to remember. I was either reading or listening to something the other day, and I think it’s about creativity. I can’t remember what, so I can’t quote or cite anything, but I was consuming some kind of media. And it was talking about how creativity and the lack of creativity is really a big problem because we can’t imagine a world without maybe the police because of a creativity issue. We can’t think outside of what we know. And I think right now, we have to, and artists need to step up, thinkers, politicians, social workers. My wife’s a social worker, and most of my friends are social workers. And they know the other importance of social work is, creativity is important for them, too, ‘cause they have to overcome all these obstacles. And creativity’s not just about art. It’s about choices and thinking outside the box and making things happen.

JILL: It’s a way of life.

AVI: Yeah. And I think as a culture, maybe we think we’re so creative in some ways. And we are. We come up with brilliant art. There’s a lot of great music. There’s a lot of great TV shows right now. [chuckles] But we need to think creatively about how the world runs, I think. I think the pandemic has caused a lot of creativity because we need to problem solve oh, how do we do this now? How do you take your dog to the vet now? Because you can’t see the person. So, you call them, you drop them off at the curb. And I think this needs to expand beyond just the pandemic and just art into policy.

JILL: I think it’s intentionality around flexibility.

AVI: Oh, yeah.

JILL: And being aware that different people have different needs. So, dropping their dog off at the vet at curbside may not just be a pandemic thing, but maybe somebody would benefit from that option long-term.

AVI: Yeah. That makes me think of just the fact that people with disabilities have been trying to get work-from-home options for so long. And then now, it’s like everybody can work from home! Well, not everybody, but most people can work from home. And hopefully it will extend all these creative options and all these different accommodations. ‘Cause not just people with disabilities need accommodations. Everybody needs to be accommodated. A stairwell is an accommodation for someone to get from the first floor to the second floor, for a person who can walk up stairs. That’s an accommodation. So is an elevator. So, everybody needs these accommodations long after pandemic is over.

JILL: Yeah, Isn’t that gonna be the challenge? And the potential gift is to keep these accommodations. And I mean, new policies are being created around the clock right now.

AVI: Mmhmm.

JILL: And to be accounting for more voices as those policies are finalized and put into action.

[fun, mellow music break]

JILL: What are your hopes post-pandemic? We imagine there’ll be an end to it.

AVI: Oh, yes, I hope.

JILL: But even more so, the systemic problems that are being exposed as a result of the pandemic and as a result of the riots, what are your hopes for the future?

AVI: I’m hoping for just total change. I’m gonna be honest. I’m hoping for so much change and so much freedom and a lot more compassion. I think this world, especially this culture that I live in, in America, says it’s compassionate, but it isn’t. And I want more compassion for people with disabilities. I want more compassion for people of color, especially Black people. I want more compassion for the LGBT community. And I just want people to think outside of their own experience. And I think a lot of people are doing that right now because they are experiencing things they’ve never experienced before. And I think it’s like pandemic is awful. This whole thing is awful. Everything that’s going on is awful. But I’m hoping that it’s teaching people empathy that they didn’t have before, because empathy is not just something you’re born with. You have to practice it. You have to learn it. And it’s a skill. It’s a muscle. And I’m hoping people get really buff on empathy right now. [chuckles]

CHRIS: I like that. I like that. A lot of your work seems to be about repairing and restoration. This thing that we came across in your description of your art, where you talk about using repurposed material. And what you say at the end here, I’ll just read it real quick and then maybe we could talk about it. So, you say that, “I use as much repurposed material as possible. This includes donated materials found at creative reuse shops, old clothes, photos, stories, etc.: items that no longer serve their original intent.” And then you said this, “Bringing new life to the old is an essential part of my art practice. It is my small way of repairing myself and the world.” Is there a way to bring that into what we’re talking about in terms of what we’re hoping for and in terms of what you’re thinking about? You know, this repurposing or repairing, it’s interesting to me. Because when I think of change sometimes, I think about like changing a channel; it’s completely different, right? When you change something, you go from point A to point B. But that seems so drastic. And what I’m reading in your work and what we see in your work is perhaps something, again, a little bit more joyful. And that is not changing everything, but recalibrating or repairing. I really like that idea of repairing.

AVI: And I think this, again, goes back to my Jewish roots, because a big part of faith for me and in the Jewish faith is repairing the world, Tikkun olam. Means repairing the world, and there’s this quote that I’m gonna horribly misquote, but it’s from the Talmud where like, it’s not for you to do everything. Doesn’t mean you have to do nothing. You have to do a little part to fix the world. And it’s just a call to action to everybody. And I think repairing something that’s broken is a radical idea. Some things that are broken need to be completely made to something else, maybe. Like a toaster. Maybe the toaster’s really broken, and it can’t be a toaster anymore. Make it into some art! I think the first time I did that was my mother had this umbrella swift, which is a thing you use to wind yarn. And I always played with it as a kid, and it finally broke when I was maybe like 21. She sent it to me. I made it into art. It’s now, I don’t know if it’s actually hanging in her studio yet, but it’s probably at my parent’s house now. And it used to be one thing, and now it’s decoration.

JILL: You’re preserving that relationship you had with it.

AVI: Yes.

JILL: Right? It’s something that has been part of your life. So, it still is part of your life, but in a different way.

AVI: Yeah.

CHRIS: Well, and that’s completely connected to the imagination that you and Jill were talking about just a minute ago: the need for imagination is the need to be able to repair and reimagine the world, right? Like you said, without creativity, that thing of your grandmother’s would be gone, and it would be lost. But because of creativity, now that there’s this way to preserve it and have it speak to us now, I think that’s what I find so uplifting about your work. I never use that word shoot, too. So, you should know that I stay away from “inspirational” and “uplifting” and all.

AVI: Oh, yeah.

CHRIS: ‘Cause of all the baggage that that shit brings to us.

AVI: I agree. [laughs]

CHRIS: But honestly, I really see that and feel that in your work.

AVI: I think there’s like a subtle distinction between inspiration porn and actual inspiration. And I think that’s about who it’s for. Inspiration porn is for able-bodied people to feel better about themselves and the world. An inspiration is for people who deal with the hardships to stay true to who they are and stay on their path, basically.

JILL: So, how does that fit into movements? You know, LGBTQ movement, women’s movement, Black Lives Matter movement, disability rights movement. When you talk about that, we’ve heard the word “imposter” a few times from people.

AVI: Mmhmm.

JILL: I don’t really have a fully-formed thought here, but I think there’s a risk right now. People are posting and writing things for Black Lives Matter without the roots. I don’t know how else to say it. Like, can you go through the motions and then have other people do the real work?

AVI: Mm.

JILL: Or are you doing inspiration porn?

AVI: Yeah.

JILL: I don’t know. I don’t know what the connection is here or how to say it. But as you talking about inspiration porn and who it’s for, who are the posts that people are making for?

AVI: Yeah. Are they just for the show, or are they actually to make change kind of thing?

JILL: When it’s en masse, even when their first show, does it still make change, or is it—

AVI: I don’t know.

JILL: Like, I don’t know. What is inspiration porn in other movements? I guess that’s my question.

AVI: Yeah.

CHRIS: No, I think that’s a great question to ask. And I think one of the things that I was seeing online during the blackout on Tuesday was a lot of leaders in the Black community saying, “No, don’t just do that,” ‘cause it’s a sort of passive silence, right? It’s what you’re talking about, Jill. It’s that it’s an appearance of fighting without actually having to fight, right? It’s like, I’m gonna share this. And because of this, I’m gonna use it as a badge of my, you know, it’s a badge of what I believe in. But a lotta leaders are saying, no, don’t simply use the hashtag. Actually think and talk and don’t be silent. You know, look. Social media and social media activism is a puzzling thing.

AVI: Oh, yeah.

CHRIS: ‘Cause can you be an activist by posting something? And there are days when I think, damn right, ‘cause that’s all I, it’s all I can do is post something! But then are were other days when I think ah, it’s not enough. Like, it’s just a badge, you know. It’s not deep enough. So, it’s gotta be about consistency, duration, and quality, right?

[fun, mellow music break]

JILL: So, when we started, Avi, you talked about how there’s a lot going on in Seattle that physically you can’t go out and be part of.

AVI: Yeah.

JILL: So, how do people who can’t physically, for many different reasons, be or choose to be part of the activity that’s happening, how do you find your voice or your place of contribution?

AVI: Well, for me, I’ve been donating money. And I know not everybody can do that ‘cause capitalism is horrible sometimes, and a lot of Disabled people don’t have enough income. A lot of people in general don’t have enough income. I think also just showing up for people who are able to go out there, even if it’s just like a text or a voicemail or something like that. Just saying, “I’m here for you.” I think solidarity right now is really important for everybody: showing up for each other when you can. I always say put on your own breathing mask thing, like they do on the airplanes, before you help someone else. But also help that other person, you know. Help your child, help your neighbor, show up, donate food if you can, donate whatever you can.

I haven’t actually been very vocal in this last week because of things going on in my personal life has been very anxiety producing. But be vocal but also do work. I’m reading a lot of books about white supremacy. I also wanna read more books about disability history because I don’t know enough, and there’s always more to learn.

JILL: So, we noticed on your website that you have a stay tuned section about your thoughts, and we’re curious, what are those thoughts? What are those things that we want people to know? And if you were to craft a stay tuned right now, what would you be talking about on your website?

AVI: I’m still working on that because everything’s changing so drastically. And the things I was working on two weeks ago don’t seem relevant anymore. So, I think I’m currently cocooning and coming from like the worm to the butterfly of how I’m going to transform what I was working on two weeks ago to something that is actually relevant and helpful to the world at the present moment and in the future. A lot about connection and stories. I’m working on little monologues with these dolls that I make that are kind of funky and repurposed. And I’m trying to, I guess, come up with stories that are relevant and fictional, but a little bit like play therapy in an art way. [chuckles]

CHRIS: And some of my favorite things, actually, are some of the weavings and the knitting and the soft sculptures that you do. I think those are really fun and playful. I love them.

AVI: Yeah. Those are super fun to make, too. I can just listen to an audiobook or watch a movie and just knit there. Or I do a lot of embroidery that I make into these, like the soft sculptures you were talking about. And yeah, those are a big part of what I’m working on right now.

JILL: And then I realized, as you’re saying, that we haven’t talked about the Socially Distant Art residency.

AVI: Oh, yeah. It’s been great for me. In my life, I struggle with a little bit of fear of the outside world. I love nature, but I can’t get outside a lot because of my anxieties. This has been really great for me to interact with other artists and find a new community all across the country and even the world. And it’s been really great for my creative process, and especially in times where, you know, in my normal day-to-day life, people would come over to my house, make art with me. You can’t do that anymore. And Trisha’s put on a really great program. It’s been a joy to get to know her and some other people in the cohort. I’m actually gonna do a talk with them, like artist discussion about joy in a few weeks and another one about anger. Because those are two very important emotions and states, and we’re usually pretty scared of anger. So, it’s gonna be interesting leading a discussion on that. So, I’m not a typically outwardly angry person, so.

[fun, mellow music plays through the next few lines]

JILL: Well, I love it. I love the opportunities that that project is creating.

CHRIS: Thank you so much for spending some time with us.

AVI: Thank you!

CHRIS: It’s been really great to get to know you, for sure.

AVI: Thank you so much.

JILL: Thanks for listening. Be well, keep your distance, send us your comments, questions, and your submissions for Oaklee Thiele to hello@DisArtNow.org. Please make sure to follow the My Dearest Friends project on Instagram, Facebook, and DisArtNow.org. And thanks again to the Ford Foundation for their support of this work and to cat enthusiast Cheryl Green for the transcription of this podcast episode.

Music: “Gentle Chase” by Podington Bear. (Source: FreeMusicArchive.org. Licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.) “A New Day In a New Sector” by Chris Zabriskie (Source: FreeMusicArchive.org. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License)