The coronavirus has made an impact on everybody from Beijing to Boothbay Harbor. Peter Bruun is responding to the worldwide pandemic with a website dealing with how they deal with life in the COVID-19 world. On April 18, yarrowandcleat.org debuted. The website is an authentic message of courage, inspiration and beauty during the days of COVID-19. Yarrow and Cleat is filled with stories, photographs and artwork describing the COVID-19 impact on life in the Boothbay region.
Southport resident Peter Bruun is the website’s creator. He moved to Southport last June from Baltimore where he worked as an artist and curator. He planned on concentrating on his own art in his new, year round home. That was before the coronavirus became a worldwide health scare. Bruun was one of the people invited by Congregational Church of Boothbay Harbor’s Rev. Peter Ilgenfritz to brainstorm ways i members could support one another through the pandemic. From the meeting, Peter Bruun developed a concept with inspirational messages of words and pictures celebrating and illuminating life during the health scare.
Bruun built and named the website. Yarrow is a flower which symbolizes healing or well-being. A cleat is a device that, when attached to a rope, provides additional strength. As an artist in Baltimore, he often used his art to tell a story. When COVID-19 hit, Bruun decided to delay his work as an artist and devote his time to COVID-19-related projects.
The website provides weekly content which arrives on Saturdays. So far, Bruun is responsible for all of the content. Yarrow and Cleat has five subject headings: Reflections, Neighbor Tales, Nature’s Way, Art Spot, and Corner Table. Reflections is s personal writing by Bruun reflecting on his current state of mind. Neighbor Tales are either a video or written piece edited by Bruun and based on an conversation he has with two residents. Nature’s Way is a look at something in the natural world about a topic relevant to COVID-19. Corner Table is a column not written by Bruun. Each week, a different writer will discuss their local perspective of COVID-19. Art Spot features a piece created by a local artist; Bruun adds a written segment to it.
Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit, is fiscal agent for Bruun’s project, allowing contributions to the project to be tax-deductible. Fractured Atlas has sponsored artists’ work since 2002 in various formats. Bruun plans on operating the website throughout the pandemic and possibly beyond. He faces the challenges of finding sufficient content to populate the website on a weekly basis and long-term funding. The website is seeking sponsorships and donations and may accept future advertising. Each weekly production requires hours a week and Yarrow and Cleat needs more financing, according to Bruun. “This has been really like a full-time job,” he said. “I don’t know how this will evolve. It will likely depend upon how it resonates with the public. Whether it continues as a weekly or monthly is a question that will be answered as it evolves.”
Bruun works with a seven-person board of advisors guiding the website’s future.