Art During Quarantine

NYC-based artist Mike Sullivan uses his time during the lockdown to create and give back.


Last month on March 7, a group of friends came over to celebrate my last moments of being 25 years old. In NYC the threat of the progressing coronavirus was certainly on our radar, but with no advisory guidelines to isolate ourselves we gathered like everything was normal. Looking back, it is truly jarring to think how quickly the situation with COVID-19 became so universal and serious. The thought of having a group gathering now, only just over a month later, seems otherworldly.

Shortly after my birthday, the city started to shut down. Restaurants, theaters, schools, and retail shops all began closing their doors in hopes of stopping the spread of the virus. Of course with that came the concerning result of many people out of work. During this time I was traveling to Ithaca, NY, to work on costumes for a production at The Cherry Arts. Like the work of so many other theater companies and creative outlets, the production had to be put on hold for the safety of the community. When I learned that the production and my job in NYC were no longer available, I went to my hometown in CT to stay with my folks. Throughout this past month I’ve been experiencing many polarizing feelings of fear, uncertainty, gratitude, and hope. I am beyond thankful for my parents and friends, those in the city working hard to keep the arts and queer community alive, and the many essential workers who are protecting the foundation of our society and keeping the vulnerable safe.

New York has been hit hard with the pandemic, and as a result I’ve seen many friends and peers leave NYC as I did. It is understandable many of us wanted to avoid the strain of the confining city; however, not everyone has the means or the access to a comfortable place to stay outside of NY. Although the circumstances of the virus are very concerning, I’m feeling incredibly grateful and fortunate to have my family to get through this with. While in isolation I’ve been feeling stuck regarding how I can provide aid to those who aren’t in a place of comfort. Thankfully there are places like the Ali Forney Center. The AFC is an organization that protects LGBT youth from the harms of homelessness. With the launch of their campaign “COVID-19: Caring for Homeless Youth,” they are dedicated to help those who are feeling the pressures of the virus and the quarantine.

With the help of my parents, we have photographed the masks I made throughout isolation. I am putting the photographs up for sale as 11 x 17 inch poster prints. Any print of your choice can be shipped to your address for a total of $40, and 50% of that purchase will be donated to the Ali Forney Center. Since accommodating for the pandemic, the center is experiencing financial strain due to providing additional meals, cleaning supplies, and essential care items for those in need. If you are able to, please consider donating and supporting AFC and other organizations that are providing aid. If you are interested in purchasing a print, please get in touch with me through Instagram DM or my email at mailto:

This is proving to be an unforgettable moment in our history. Despite our different personal circumstances, we have all been affected by COVID-19. It’s important for us to find our unique definition of peace and comfort while remaining isolated and safe. I have hopes that, although the start to 2020 has been unexpectedly difficult, we will have gained a greater understanding of what it means to push forward once this is over. We may be isolated, but we are not alone. Have trust in your personal strength, in the brave health workers fighting for our safety, and lastly, have trust that our future will allow us to embrace and celebrate human resilience.