School of the Arts


The College of HFA Commences their #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected Project

Tracy Butts
Tracy Butts, College of HFA interim dean

California State University, Chico’s College of Humanities and Fine Arts presents their #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected project as a response to the shelter-in-place orders due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).  

“It is our hope that the #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected project is both informative and educational, perhaps even entertaining at times, but ultimately collaborative,” said Tracy Butts, interim dean for the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.    

The #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected project aims to communicate what students, faculty, staff, and others are doing during the shelter-in-place. People are encouraged to share what they are reading, watching, viewing, listening to, writing, studying, contemplating, creating, or making.

“I would love to have submissions from students on campus,” said Butts. “I’m curious to know what things are helping them get through all of the mental and economic anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden transition to online instruction.”

Butts first had the idea to begin the #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected project after tuning in to DJ D-Nice’s Club Quarantine. By the end of the first week of spinning records on his Instagram Live page, he had over 150,00 people tuning in. 

“There was an incredible sense of community despite the fact that we were all physically distant,” said Butts. “I thought to myself, this is what the arts and humanities do; this is the answer to the oft-asked question, ‘why study arts and humanities?’” 

Staying connected to the arts and humanities is enriching in everyday life as well as in times of crisis. We turn to the arts and humanities for comfort, strength, distraction and amusement. The arts and humanities also provide an opportunity for ourselves and future generations to reflect on and learn from a crisis by providing us with records and archives of those events. 

“We often don’t think about the way the arts and humanities enrich our lives because they are so integral to our existence,” said Butts. “I cannot and do not want to envision a world in which the arts and humanities do not exist.”

There have already been several submissions to the #PhysciallyDistantSociallyConnected project. These include mini-poetry readings, stories and poems, paintings, music and much more. To keep the project going, anyone who has an item they would like to submit is highly encouraged to do so.

“I’m enjoying all of the contributions to the HFA #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected project. Please keep them coming,” said Butts. “And, a huge thank you to Joe DiMaggio, Joe Alexander, and Shelby Casey for joining me in bringing this project to fruition and giving it life.”

How are you remaining socially connected while practicing physical distancing? Share with us what you are reading, watching, viewing, listening to, writing, studying, contemplating, creating, or making. Send your submissions to and stay tuned for future emails. To view all posted submissions, Physically Distant/Socially Connected

Your submissions may be shared on various College of Humanities and Fine Arts' FacebookInstagram, and Twitter account as well as the #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected.


Story by Shelby Casey, School of the Arts publicity assistant