1,659 by Northeastern University

The pandemic has affected so many aspects of our lives, amplifying disparities and challenges that already existed. For far too many households simply having access to enough food to eat is a daily challenge. During the early months of the COVID pandemic, an average of 1,659 new households applied for SNAP benefits every DAY in Massachusetts. This data sculpture was inspired by that number - each of the 1,659 households is represented by one knife, spoon, or fork. The pandemic is slowing here, but these families and others facing food insecurity still struggle to put food on their tables.

1,659 is a data sculpture created out of re-purposed cutlery in the shape of a dinner table. We have shown 1,659 at farmers markets, city halls, art galleries, and other sites. This wide range of sites has let us and others use it as a tool to drive people to sign up for assistance programs, learn about disparities related to food access, get engaged with local community responses to food insecurity, and motivate donations to connected non-profits.

This fall it will be shown as part of a larger traveling exhibit of pieces speaking to food insecurity at the Fuller Craft Museum.