Parallel 45 Theatre’s professional costume designer, Mica Harrison, is putting her talents and decade-long collection of fabric to use making masks for preventing the transmission of COVID-19 and protecting local frontline workers and community members with pre-existing health conditions.

Traverse City’s Parallel 45 Theatre announced the cancellation of the 2020 Theatre Festival due to the coronavirus last week. Mica, who has designed for the professional theatre company since 2012, is now spending her time sewing as many face masks as possible while continuing to juggle academic responsibilities and a position in admissions at Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama.

“One of the things that I love most about Parallel 45 is the depth of the connection and compassion we have with our local community,” Mica says. “Making these masks gives me the opportunity to have some control in our current situation while continuing to give back to the community who has given so much to us.”

Mica is part of a vibrant, local sewing community that has come forward to help in a crucial way. She was initially inspired by a Facebook group called “Seamstresses for Safety” which includes more than 2,000 members creating face masks in Northern Michigan. To date, she has donated 300-plus masks directly to the community and expects to distribute close to 1,000 masks by the end of May.

“Theatre is its people—the career artists who show up day after day, turning their talents into human connections. In these bizarre times, when we aren’t able to forge those connections in person, our artists are finding new ways to stay in touch and to demonstrate generosity and compassion,” says P45’s Executive Director Erin Whiting.

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Photo(s) by Parallel 45