With everyone in their homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many have taken to the internet to occupy their time. Some, like textile artist Taiana Giefer, are using that time online to create something they’ve wanted to make for years.
For the local artist, it’s not anything related to her day job making art pieces from fabric, but rather a website providing Santa Barbara residents with a one-stop-shop list of local resources they can access during the health crisis.
From exhaustive lists of food delivery services, to nonprofits assisting families in need, to information on where Santa Barbara residents can buy locally made hand sanitizer, to instructions on how to make their own sanitizer, theresourceproject.com has this information and a lot more.
Ms. Giefer’s endeavor to provide a comprehensive list of local resources for Santa Barbara residents during the pandemic is descended from a local relief effort she took part in two years ago.
Following the debris flow that devastated Montecito at the beginning of 2018 after the Thomas Fire, Ms. Giefer volunteered in The Recovery Project, which set up shop in front of the Montecito Country Mart on a donated lease and gave free clothes and shoes to victims of the disaster.
The Recovery Project ceased after a month and a half when the free lease expired and when its volunteers had to shift attention back to their day jobs. However, the contacts in the Santa Barbara community that The Recovery Project made during its month and a half of service would prove useful two years later.
As the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak started being widely felt with social distancing measures taking hold and people sequestering themselves in their homes, Ms. Giefer met with some of her fellow Recovery Project volunteers to determine what they could do to help the situation. It was ultimately agreed that they would each prioritize taking care of their own immediate families and friends during the crisis, but they did send out emails to various contacts at community resources they compiled while running The Recovery Project.
As they heard back from community leaders and local organizations about what they were doing to help Santa Barbara during the crisis, Ms. Giefer became the point person for receiving that information and compiling it into a website.
On March 18, she launched The Resource Project.
In an interview with the News-Press, Ms. Giefer said theresourceproject.com is her attempt at fulfilling an ambition of hers that she’s had for four years, building a website that thoroughly lists all services in Santa Barbara. The artist described the idea that led to The Recourse Project as “a Craigslist or a Timeout for Santa Barbara.”
Currently, Ms. Giefer is only slowly adding to her website as it is now fairly comprehensive in its list of local services. Adding to the website in the beginning took up all her time, but given the circumstances, she had plenty of time to dedicate to it. As is the case for many professionals, the coronavirus situation has cut into the textile artist’s business.
“It’s definitely taken a big halt,” she said. “The first week and a half I had no time besides the website. Now half of my time goes to the website, half to textile, but business is slow. People are definitely not buying art at the moment.”
Though The Resource Project may have been born out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Giefer intends to keep the website running once the crisis subsides. Of course, she will shift the focus of her website once the world moves into post-coronavirus mode. Whenever that time comes, Ms. Giefer envisions The Resource Project as a promoter of “environmentally forward” stores, organizations, farmers and community leaders who are working toward helping the environment.
“I’d definitely like to keep it running and have it focused on local organizations you can support with your time and money,” she said.
From there, if possible, the website could grow.
“I think that’s where I’ll start and if I have the capacity to grow it, I‘d like to make it into a larger search engine that you can curate to your needs,” she said.
The Resource Project can be found online at theresourceproject.com.