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MAKING WAVES: Artists in Quarantine with Paz de la Calzada

May 15, 2020 | Allyson Hitte | Press Room/Blog

As part of #VirtualMMA, we are looking at how local creatives are affected by and adapting to life during COVID-19. For today’s MAKING WAVES, we’re featuring a letter written by artist Paz de la Calzada where she introduces a new art project she is working on in quarantine.  Paz was MMA’s very first artist-in-residence in the fall of 2019 and exhibited “Bucolica”, a multidisciplinary art project that included a site-specific installation in the main stairwell of MMA Pacific Street.
Dear friends,

I hope you are healthy, safe and creative during this quarantine. 

I’ve been spending time reflecting and asking myself some questions:

What if this pandemic is trying to tell us something?
What if Mother Earth is trying to say, stop, be quiet, go inwards you are missing something! 

I know we all have feelings of anxiety and want to run away and numb ourselves from this feeling. I know it’s tempting to look for distraction, to avoid to stop and check in with ourselves. But how about if we embrace this quarantine as period of time that can be very magical, like between worlds, to stop, look around us and reflect on our disconnection with the Earth, with others and ourselves?

This incredible time we are living is inspired me to create an art project that could bring people together, a project that I can easily do from home and using the resources we have in the community and in our city gardens.

How about if we all co-create an herbal recipe to help us heal those disconnections or imbalances that have already become an ailment? An herbal remedy that won’t heal our bodies from any virus, germ or alien disease but heal us politically, socially and spiritually.

So first I’m asking: 

What do we need to heal? what’s broken? What’s this situation showing us? 

Do you know any herb, plant or flower near where you live that could contribute with this healing and disconnection? 

If you do and would like to be part of this project please either tell me the exact location of the plant and I’ll come and harvest it myself or pick up a small sample of the plants, dry them first for a few days (you can hang it or lay it over a cardboard bag) chop it in small pieces and put it in a ziplock and then send it to me at my studio 1890 Bryant Street, Studio #211 San Francisco, CA 94110. Please include a hand made label with the following information:

Your name:

Your address::

Name of plant:

Day Collected:

Location: Example, my backyard at

*Story (if any):

  • Optional: I’d love if you could make a small video (1minute max) with the story of the plant, if there’s any, and how you think it can contribute with the medicine. Start the video saying your name and don’t forget to say the name of the plant at some point and where you collected it, or you can do that while collecting the plant, if you have someone who can help you with the video part. Please send the video to my email address: pazdelacalzada@yahoo.com
Once I gather all plants I’ll make an herbal remedy that will be shared with you.

Here is some input I’ve been collecting since the quarantine started:

Ailments: Fear(lungs), Anxiety, Pollution, Isolation, Inequity, Boundaries, etc.


Plants: Yerbabuena, yerba santa, eucalyptus, cleavers, mullein, grandelia, elecampane, echinacea, nettles, allium, albizia, astragalus, anise hyssop, thyme, elderberry, etc


Geography: San Francisco Bay Area or people related with the Bay Area. 

I look forward to co-creating this herbal remedy with you.

Thanks everyone!