This is a story of how out of work Broadway Costume Designers are making a difference lending their skills to help during Covid-19. Meet Beverly Law, Karyn Tomczak, Annick Vuissoz, as well as other crafty New Yorkers Veena Mosur and Ashley Cannon who responded to the call for help.
When the Urban Resource Institute and IATSE Local 764 joined together to create a minimum of 1,200 100% cotton masks, more than 50 volunteers, including members of the NYC Sewing Community, combined their skills to make masks for those in need.
As a member of IATSE Local 764 and 829, Beverly Law is a costume designer and textile artist. She began her career in film and TV in 2010 and moved to NYC in 2017 where she has been doing costume design. She heard about this opportunity with URI through Local 764 and their initiative to use their costuming skills to give back to the community during this uncertain time. Beverly has made and distributed about 375 masks within 2 weeks. She wants to help normalize and promote wearing masks to help flatten the curve and is proud to be Asian. You can find photos of her process, video tutorials, step by step photos, and other tips on her Instagram page, @SewBevy.
For 15 years, Karyn Tomczak made her living as a performer on national Broadway tours and as a Radio City Rockette. She recently moved back to NYC to start anew, but her job search has been halted by COVID-19. In her free time, Karyn has been using the sewing skills her grandma taught her as a child to sew face masks for friends, family, neighbors, and URI. She heard about the opportunity through her friend in the IATSE Local 764 union.
URI posted a call to action via Instagram for people to help make masks, and Annick Vuissoz was quick to respond. Although she’s an essential employee working full-time amid the COVID-19 crisis, she has been using her own material and spending extra time to make masks for her community.
Veena Mosur was the first person to respond to URI’s request for sewers to help make masks for the shelters and the first to provide finished masks. She worked diligently to connect us with others in the sewing community and partners interested in supporting the NYC community.
With the extra time she had in quarantine, Ashley Cannon taught herself to sew masks through Youtube and Pinterest tutorials, and turned to more social platforms to find groups in need, which is where she found URI’s call to action. “I couldn’t be happier to find organizations that have banded together to provide those things! I think when the world looks like it does, the only thing we can do is be kind to each other and support one another any way we can!”