The range of activities was astounding, as were the participating artists. [2:04]
Caron Atlas: Artists from around the city were so generous. They were just like wanting so badly to get involved and to use their skills and talents as they got involved. So we had everything from, classical music quartets and a group from Carnegie Hall who came because Carnegie Hall was closed. We had people from the Philharmonic. We had people from Broadway. And we had jazz quartets and storytellers and Big Apple Circus and we had the New York Writers Collaborative. And I think what I learned also was what kind of artists made sense in that setting, because it isn't every art. I mean, some artists could just come and play beautiful music and that was wonderful. And I think people so appreciated, you know -- you'd be listening and there would be the cello playing and it would be gorgeous. And we'd have people from the emergency workers say, "You know, I couldn't come over, but we just heard it and it was so comforting." So we'd have that, but then we had people really early on who did participatory workshops or music circles or writing where people could start to make sense of what happened to them. We kind of thought of ourselves as the living room of the shelter because it was the one place with chairs. I mean one thing we found out is that the arts community is really resourceful. So, you know, there weren't that many chairs in the shelter, but Rooftop Films was right in the neighborhood and they have tons of chairs. So they not only did a screening, but they provided chairs for us to have all the way through. And, you know, each group, we learned about sort of the social networks that are out there and the cultural networks and what each one had to bring to the table. And so we were in pretty good shape pretty fast because of the combination of the religious organizations and the cultural groups. We were like the only ones with tables at one point. And I remember when FEMA came, they took our tables and chairs. And it was fine, you know, because FEMA needs tables and chairs. But it just was funny to me that that's where they came from, the arts community.