Cultural venues across the world closed their doors when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The contemporary art gallery, Galerie EL in the Polish town of Elblag, was no exception, but director Adriana Kotynska wished to open the gallery’s green outdoor courtyard for public activities. During the especially dry Polish summer of 2020, the gallery had let the grass in the courtyard grow tall to reduce the damaging consequences of drought. Kotynska and her colleagues designed a checkerboard pattern for mowing the grass, based on the average picnic blanket size and local social distancing measures. Mowing the overgrown lawn in this pattern created small clearings where people could enjoy the outdoors in each other’s company while keeping a safe distance from each other.
Relation to Resilience
The dry summer and the Coronavirus pandemic created a double challenge that threatened established social and ecological structures. On the one hand, the lawn mowed in a green checkerboard pattern provides a solution for human residents to maintain their social connections while keeping a safe distance. On the other hand, the patches where the grass is grown provide various functions, retaining moisture, lowering the temperature and contributing a higher diversity in flora and fauna.