By Luis Soto Jr.
Not everyone was able to experience the outside world every day. Those who did were our essential workers. As they experienced the pandemic firsthand, we were in the dark, living life inside a bubble, watching from windows or from screens. We would look from different points of view captured on camera.
Locally, our community suffered immensely. Here in Las Vegas, our economy is based off of hotels and resorts, relying on tourists for income. During the shutdown, there were a hefty number of families unemployed. Having a financial crisis, families struggled to make payments and feed themselves. To ameliorate the food situation, there were food drives in our communities, one present in my old high school.
I never would have expected that I would return to my old high school, West Prep, so soon. Let alone to return as a volunteer to help distribute the food to give out during a food drive. I received an email from Core, a non-profit organization in Las Vegas, reaching out, looking for volunteers to help with a food drive. I wanted to help out my community, so I accepted the offer.
Core designed the food drive very meticulously. When I had arrived, the food was already separated into stations. There were crates of dairy, canned vegetables, and chicken strips each with their own designated area. A check in table was even installed. It was all organized at the parking lot, ready for contactless delivery. Everyone already knew their role as individual cogs running a distribution machine together. I saw some familiar faces, as well as new ones, helping those in our community like there was nothing else in the world we would rather do.
Families would check in at the desk and open their trucks for us to fill with food. We would hear voices of gratitude with each item we loaded into their car. This is what inspired my painting, Inside a Bubble. Personally, I felt trapped wanting to reach out to the world, go outside, and experience it. Inside a Bubble was meant to illustrate us before we came together to help one another. We were all living inside one before we popped it and reached out for each other, to come together as a community.
Originally published by Nevada Humanities on May 13, 2021
Luis Soto Jr. is a writer and visual artist, pursuing a journalism degree and Pilates certificate at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He goes by the alias Blankface on Instagram where he posts his artwork. His artwork, Inside a Bubble, is featured as part of the current Nevada Humanities Exhibition Series, Nevada Youth Make Their Mark: Sharing Experiences from the Pandemic Year and Looking Forward.