BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - While many residents have been stuck at home due to Governor John Bel Edwards’ stay-at-home order, one Baton Rouge artist decided to use all that extra time for creative expression and to promote the critical message of health and government officials.
Alaine DiBenedetto, 60, who was born and raised in Baton Rouge, has completed three paintings since the pandemic began and is working on a fourth. She says it takes her about a week to complete each painting.
“My painting/business partner Stephanie Huye and I started a Facebook group ‘Making Art While Flattening The Curve,” DiBenedetto tells WAFB.
DiBenedetto and Huye, 54, own a business together H-DArt.com and share an art studio in Louisiana’s COVID-19 epicenter: New Orleans.
“We have several arts shows a year and welcome visitors to our studio. Unfortunately, since the social-distancing and shelter-in-place orders hit, I’m not able to get to our studio, so I am making do with what I have here at home,” DiBenedetto explains.
DiBenedetto says she is having to use acrylic paint and anything else she can find around the house during her self-quarantine.
DiBenedetto has been painting all of her life and has owned an art-related business in the past which hosted mobile paint parties. She also co-founded the non-profit Cigars for Warriors, which provides care packages to U.S. troops serving overseas.
DiBenedetto and Huye met at LSU while they were both pursuing their Bachelor of Fine Arts. The duo shared an art studio at LSU until they both graduated in 2014 and started H-DArt.com.
But if you ask DiBenedetto, she says she’s doing more than just finding a way to pass the time while stuck at home.
“I believe that artists have the important task of recording historical events, from cave drawings to the present day. None of us will live to see another pandemic like this, so it’s our job to be the visual (emotional) recorders. I’m combining great moments in America’s history with the current situation," DiBenedetto said.
On her fourth day of self-quarantine, DiBenedetto completed her first painting March 17 entitled Stay Home, Dammit, which depicts the Statue of Liberty wearing a mask and spraying a sanitizing substance.
Her second painting Do It!, completed March 26, is a play on the classic U.S. Army recruiting poster featuring a Dr. Ben Carson, instead of Uncle Sam, saying “I want you to stay home.” DiBenedetto says Dr. Carson is a “true hero” of hers.
She completed her third painting entitled DJT Triumph March 31. The painting depicts President Donald Trump in a space suit planting the American flag on a spore of COVID-19, reminiscent of astronaut Neil Armstrong planting the flag on the surface on the moon.
“The president is making giant leaps to conquer the enemy, and pulling our fragmented country together to fight the COVID-19 war,” DiBenedetto explains. Shes says she painted the hidden dove in the American flag to symbolize peace and togetherness.
DiBenedetto says her fourth painting, entitled The Frontline, will honor medical personnel, firemen, law enforcement officers, EMTs, and those on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.
When asked what her overall message is DiBenedetto says she wants people to “stay home and stay safe and use the pandemic as an opportunity to create and inspire. Also, be good to yourself. Be good to others even if it’s from a distance.”
DiBenedetto and Huye’s paintings can be viewed and purchased on their website by clicking here.
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