East Creek COVID-19 Coronavirus Information
A Note from Joe Robinson, Co-Owner, East Creek Art, LLC
March 16, 2020
All of us at East Creek take the COVID-19 threat very seriously. Many members of our community, guests, and family members are in the at risk group that make COVID-19 so dangerous. In fact, every single living person on both sides of my own family is in the high risk pool.
The COVID-19 situation and guidance is changing almost daily, and for that reason, I wanted to sketch out some potential responses from East Creek with regard to our activities. In all cases, we will be taking guidance from the Oregon Governor’s Office and the Oregon Health Authority, and when relevant, the Oregon Department of Education. I will communicate our decisions and actions via email, social media, and updates to the East Creek coronavirus resource page, located at eastcreekart.org/corona. Our most recent statement will always be present on the East Creek website at eastcreekart.org/corona
The continuity of cultural production and education here at East Creek is of paramount importance to our mission and ethos. For that reason, it’s our intention to continue the operation of the anagama kiln as scheduled for our April and May firings, as long as we can do so within the afore-mentioned guidelines. Our operation of the kiln will continue, but the situation around the kiln and our educational modes will be subject to some major adjustments. We have the advantage of being outdoors where social distancing is more easily maintained, but have the challenge that so many of our tools and resources (including bathroom) are shared.
Our Current Response: We are currently within the guidance set forth by the governor’s office for all events through the end of May. We have implemented specific disinfecting and social distancing best practices on the grounds, and we have advised everyone to follow the guidance from the Oregon Health Authority and their own medical care team in deciding whether it’s appropriate to attend our events. We also ask sick people and those with sick people in their household to stay home. Please refer to the website for a bulleted list of our current responses.
In case of a Somewhat more restricted future (already happening): We will continue current best practices with regard to disinfecting and social distancing. We will ask for lower-risk pool individuals to help collect pots from higher-risk pool individuals who will be unable to attend specific events (i.e., loading, firing, unloading) due to their own self-distancing decisions. We will call on everyone at East Creek to make daily update posts with firing progress information and photos. And we will produce video content of the firing to share with those who are at home and unable to attend.
In case of a Very restricted future (likely): The anagama kiln can be fired at any given time with two people: a front stoker and a side stoker. To conduct 8 hour rotating shifts, a crew of at least 6 people would be required for the duration of the firing. We are working to identify a small group of low-risk pool individuals who could step up to fire the kiln in this situation. In a worst case scenario, East Creek has 4 separate sleeping accommodations including Joe’s house. So we have the resources to comply with even the most restrictive guidance we can currently imagine (6 foot separation outdoors at all times, full time gloves and mask, separate sleeping quarters for each person, no indoor contact whatsoever, travel restrictions). In this case we would arrange for the house-to-house pickup of boxes of pots for transport to East Creek followed by a 72 hour minimum quarantine before loading. Our super-skeleton crew would conduct the loading and firing- posting information, photos, and videos every half hour for the duration of the firing. Much of this would likely take place via instagram, but the content would also be aggregated onto the East Creek website at the conclusion of the firing.
These are extreme measures indeed, but East Creek has persevered in the face of massive doubt many times before. In these unprecedented times, I ask for your help: please continue your own production, and be prepared to at least send your pots to East Creek to be fired.
East Creek is at a delicate tipping point, financially. The prospect of refunding or rainchecking cancelled firings, after all the wood has been bought and preparations made, could spell disaster for us. The core crew, who has worked so hard to get us to where we are today, will step up and make the firings happen as we have before time and time again. But please, stay with us. It will be a major bummer that we can’t get together for the East Creek firing celebration we all love. But it would be tragic if our community were to lose this place we all love and have worked so hard to save, improve and move into a new era.
I wish everyone in the East Creek community good health and happy days.
Precautions in place at East Creek as of March 17, 2020
-Follow Oregon Health Authority guidance
-No gatherings of more than 10 people in any one structure or shelter at East Creek
-Maintaining of social distancing of 6+ feet
-Temporary suspension of shared food service and dish washing station
-Temporary use of disposable dishes and serve ware
-Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting cadence, including hand wash stations
-No sick people, or people with sick household members, may participate
-Individual sleeping quarters for each overnight visitor
-Altered kiln loading and unloading practices to maintain social distancing and minimize touching