Hoosier creates free mask art installation on Indy’s near east side


INDIANAPOLIS — A local artist is turning his passion into providing free masks on Indy’s near east side.

“I always got to keep my hands busy, so I started making masks,” laughs Philip Campbell, “It doesn’t feel right for me to sell them you know?”

You will find Campbell’s masks hanging on a clothesline between two old wooden poles on 10th Street near Hamilton Avenue. It’s part of a public art installation as part of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful’s Art and Seek campaign.

“I think we probably went through 100 in the first week,” chuckles Campbell, “I thought about doing this clothesline and just giving away free masks.”

Before creating the art installation, Campbell began making masks for his family and sent about 32 around to relatives around the country. The next batch was sent to his colleagues at Eskenazi Hospital.

“I manage a team of pure recovery coaches in the emergency department, and we do wrap-around services for people who have opioid use disorder,” details Campbell, “Everyone wants you to wear a mask, but what if you don’t know where to get one, don’t have the money to get one?”

Attached to his clothesline is info from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on how to clean masks, and to make your own. People are encouraged to make their own masks to replace the ones they take.

“That was kind of the whole point to start this thing, and then get people in the neighborhood to continue it,” explains Campbell, “Another lady took a bunch over at 4:00, by 4:30 they were gone as well.”

Campbell says he has made 300 to 400 masks to date, and all of them are made from recycled materials.

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