The UW-Parkside College of Arts and Humanities donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to emergency operations centers in Kenosha and Racine counties to be used by first responders and medical personnel. Dr. Lesley Heins Walker, dean of the College, coordinated the effort with UW-Parkside Costume Lab Supervisor Darice Damata-Geiger, Associate Professor of Art Trenton Baylor, and Lightening Design Specialist Jake Bray – who also serves at facility manager for the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities.
Prompted by a request from UW-Parkside Police Chief Jim Heller to donate materials to the Robert E. Ellsworth Correction Center, the College of Arts and Humanities gathered materials from storage, including cotton cloth and elastic to sew masks for first responders. The Ellsworth facility is making fabric masks that can be used, laundered, and reused, which they kindly agreed to provide to UW-Parkside’s university police department.
The College and UW-Parkside police department gathered together approximately 110 masks and 2 boxes of rubber gloves to donate to local authorities. This protective equipment is used routinely by theatre scene shops and in sculpture studios for protection against hazardous paint fumes or dust or metal particles. Dean Walker says she is proud of her staff, who were willing to come to campus, despite campus being closed, in order to contribute in whatever way to the safety of all. She also encourages other high school and university art departments in the area to scourer their storage lockers for masks that might be of use to first responders.