"The Memoirs from COVID-19 Isolation Pilot program funded by the BPHC, has been one of the most challenging & fulfilling initiatives of my career. From inception, to fulfillment, to final report, it’s been a revelatory experience and outstandingly rewarding to see the benefits to both artists and elders, their families and communities... I am  both humbled and honored to have served them. ."

James P. Ni chols

Grammy Award Winning Producer/Engineer

My Name is James P. Nichols and I am a Grammy Award winning producer and recording engineer.  I have been at this for 50 years and counting. 

So, before Covid struck, I was busy. I was booked doing recordings for musical groups like Wynton Marsalis & The Lincoln Center Orchestra, Dizzy”s 

Coca Cola Club and basically all of the Jazz at Lincoln Center. I was traveling to New York rather regularly and getting ready to do film scores as well,  then COVID hit and all the business went away. 

It was almost like two months of just scrambling trying to figure out what to do. Looking for alternative ways to be and to live became the issue.   We were booked up until then. Pretty much from January till September or October was the norm. But then around March it all went away.  I had to come up with another way to have day to day work, or whatever,  working with how the circumstances would from now on look like. 

So I ended up working in my space, staying home and putting together recording systems for both my friends and family in Boston, as well as for the people I know, advising people online how to do that for themselves. Early in the year people needed to know how to do that, by THAT I mean, getting online & making music in their own spaces. 

So I just became a different type of recording engineer, more home based and information based, as opposed to getting into the car and driving so far to where I needed to go and do what I do. COVID made everything just a different place in a different way. So far this year, by the

end of the year, it’s been really, really good for me. 

I’ve gotten financial help through various means. So a lot of folks that I advised on what equipment to get, or how to put their world together or how to rethink their position, actually got stimulus money to actually put that in place too. 

You know, that all took place maybe by August/ September, the rest of that money finally came through. And now we’re looking at another hopeful wave of some stabilizing cash so folks can continue with their lives. And, we’re learning how to live this way. Not a bad way to be. It’s going to be very different for as long as COVID exists. I’m just hoping that we’re able to make use of the time and opportunities that COVID has given us, the living. I hope we’re ready because of the lockdown, we haven’t really experienced it fully. 

And then in 2021 they’ll approach the lockdown in a much more sane & serious way. And hopefully, by then, we’ll understand what our capabilities are, what our future could be without having to literally be in the house. Like you’ll actually work and contribute to our world and not have to do it the way we did it before. I’d get up at six and get in the car and drive to wherever by 9:30 and work until 5,6,7 or whatever, and then come back home exhausted. I spent an awful lot of time just traveling. 

I’m currently 68 years old and to have this kind of freedom, at this time in my life, it’s really, really interesting. If I were younger, I would… I don’t know how I would deal with it because I was very career oriented. And then being able to be you know, past retirement age and still end up having a career is nice. But to be able to not have to leave the house is evil good. It’s kind of, it’s kind of nice!

It’s kind of nice not to have to deal with the normal flow.  It’s fun to be able to contribute and not have to leave the house and deal with the normal flow.

Barton Van Putten

Painter, Visual Artist

My name is Barton Van Putten.

I live in Boston, Massachusetts on Commonwealth
Avenue. I do acrylics and watercolorI knew Covid
was in effect when I bought a ticket to go see
Road James and Goliath and it got cancelled
right after I bought the ticket.

It really didn’t affect me that much because I’m
pretty self contained as far as music but I just
moved. So, actually I’m still unboxing my music so
it affected my being able to move because I didn’t
get to move into my new apartment, until the end
of September, when we had the end of the first
wave of COVID.

I just turned 68 in December, on December 16 of
this year. I didn’t get sick, but I did have a friend
Switch who went to Texas and she caught COVID
when she was in Texas, so she was quarantined
there for a month and a half. My health is good
because before COVID I was always taking
vitamins and I exercise well, so there’s nothing
during the COVID crisis that really affected me
because I was always washing my hands as soon
as they came in the house. I always did exercise
and vitamins and herbs for my health. So a lot of
this really didn’t affect me because I was doing
what’s right for me already. ahead of timWell considering that some of my things didn’t

tend to get to my new apartment and was left in
my old apartment. I think I have to go to the art
store called Blix, which used to be called Utrecht
on anoosh Avenue and buy some new
watercolors because I’m ready to start painting
again.I’m pretty popular so on Facebook and as
far as video calls well, I can video call my friends all over
the world. So I basically keep in touch with

Yes, COVID actually inspired me to do more
because I haven’t done any artwork for a while. So
now I have all this time on my hands. And I just
want to do something constructive and creative
with my time.

Well, I haven’t seen any of my friends since I
moved, but I do miss one of my best friends, Paul
Goodnight from Mass College. He is a world
renowned artist. He’s done the Olympics and a
lot of famous people own his paintings.
So I haven’t seen people really, for a while
because they want everybody to stay in the
house. But as soon as things pick up and I can
see people I’m sure they still continue because
Paul Goodnight is like Prince. He’s like a factory.
He just pumps stuff out.

Okay, thank you for making this so easy because
I was panicking because that like I like I said I’m a
tech caveman!

Meg Nichols

Photographer, Visual Artist

My name is Meg Nichols, 

I’m 38 years old. I live in Greater Boston , Massachusetts, with my husband, Chris, and my two dogs, Jackson and May. I am a working artist. I have a degree in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York where I spent quite a few years, over a decade, working as a photojournalist and music photographer.  I also had an art studio as part of a pretty big art community, right outside of Boston. 

Yeah, so it’s been just like a great year for trying new things. And the spaghetti is finally sticking to the wall in a lot of ways. We have painted two murals since this one together. Their my murals and my designs and everything, but having him, my husband Chris, just be there to help me, you know, fill in the big bold blocks of color, do a second coat of something, just be there while I’m out late at night, because sometimes I have to paint late just because of scheduling, and he just, you

know, hang out with me and bring me soup, and isn’t afraid to get dirty… it’s just cool. 

Mid month, right before the holidays, I was talking to my team at work a lot and just some friends here and there, {about} the disappointment and sadness and all these things that aren’t maybe huge like; maybe they didn’t lose a loved one, or they didn’t personally get COVID…things happened but so much loss in small ways as well. People {were} just spending holidays alone. Just life is just still on pause so many ways. And people are losing their businesses and their dreams. And there’s all these permanent solutions to temporary problems, which is probably one of my biggest fears. and… 


I’ve been kind of focusing on that a little bit in my own psyche and my thoughts, pulling back from social media a bit because I just think it’s time to get quiet and put my head down and do work and practice and

paint the alphabet over and over, till I’m you know, more skilled with a brush, and listen and celebrate people’s small stories. 

I would like to do something with them. I feel like the collection of the small small sadnesses is important and I think it’s my documentary photographer brain 

kicking back on. But, I have put two pieces up recently. One just says like, “What becomes of the 

brokenhearted?”  Obviously song lyrics. And another one, also song lyrics, it was, “everything you think and everything you feel is alright”. 


I see people still comparing their struggles with other people’s struggles. Some of us have had a break from work, some people are working from home some people have had no break. And I just think all of our experiences should be appreciated and celebrated. And I’m going to do something with that at some point.

But for now, it was a good year art wise with growth. I have a lot to learn still. I don’t want to give up on the dream of doing art full time eventually. I would love to get back into spaces more easily. I would love to. I have plans I’ve had to cancel for so many shows and also to paint murals inside people’s homes. 

Bringing art and colorful vibrancy and other things back into some kind of dull spaces. I do think that you know it’s a melancholy year, sad year, but there are things to celebrate also. You know it’s okay to have a different perspective from last year. 

I think a lot of people’s True Colors came out this year. And I think that made me want to fight the good fight a little bit stronger even.  Because there’s things that maybe you could let slide three years ago, but now it’s a deal breaker. 

So I definitely learned to make the most of my time. And if I want to do it, do it now! Because you really don’t know what’s gonna come next. But yeah, I’m excited for 2021 excited to share my voice and help Chris to share his voice, with more collaborative projects. And art is not going anywhere. I mean, even at my day job, we sell art supplies. And it’s amazing how many people are getting back into it or starting art, painting or drawing, because they need to do something for themselves. So we just have to band together as people and see how we can support each other. 

It’s really been good and made me really happy to help people start their art journey because I’m still on my own. I’ve been an artist for my entire life. But you can change your mind later, you can do something different anytime you want. 

So it was a crazy year. But again, it was amazing in some ways. I cried after one mural in particular, because I was so proud of it. And never thought I would have painted seven murals this year, and gotten paid for them. So it’s been nice. It’s been nice connecting with people on the internet and in person, virtually, sometimes over art, likes, sharing, and finding people that are so like minded {seeing comments} “I feel that way too, or, yeah, I get that or that happened to me”, or whatever it is. 


I don’t ” love” the virtual world, but it’s necessary right now. So I really look forward to getting back face to face with people. But for right now, you know, hopefully there’s an end in sight and we can hug each other again.


Composer, Bassist, Bandleader

I am Shyndig. 

A musician. To break it down, songwriter, producer, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist and I play lots of drums with beatboxing, you know, stuff like that. I’ve been doing it forever. Some people also know me as Deacon dig, as I was a deacon at a church. 

I moved to Boston, which is where I live now with my family, my two children and my wife, and my mother in law. It’s been quite a time. It’s very quiet, And I’ll tell you why, It’s because of COVID. A virus that has pretty much kept everybody inside their homes, so that they can be safe. It has made an astronomical amount of people ill and it has taken so many lives. In the US alone, but all over the world. It’s a pandemic. 

All that freedom that we had, of playing

anywhere, anytime. And with anyone that we want it too is gone, and has been gone for the last 10 months or so. As someone posed the question to me, “what has it been like for you, as a musician during these times?”  Well, I gotta tell you, in a way it has been not that different from what I was doing before.  I’ve spent the last 20 years being a recording artist and not a performing artist. 

I did perform maybe a handful of times with my best friend Reese and his band. We played numerous gigs, but I didn’t find it was more important than to get the music on vinyl, on tape, you know, and to get it into the vaults of the internet for good. 

So that’s what I’ve spent my time doing. When COVID came along, I think the only thing I worried about was the job situation.

But without going into detail, I didn’t really have to worry, and I was able to spend time at home with my kids. I’m kind of sharing the online school duties with my wife. 

Everything shut down for all my artist friends though. As a musician, seeing my friends go through that, or even colleagues is hard. I became a stay at home dad. And in doing so it gave me a lot of time to record at home. 

So I have gotten used to being home and being out of chasing business. You know, during these COVID times, I have to say I’m comfortable. 

What is the future of this COVID situation? Are we ever going to get out of it? I think for me personally, I take it one day at a time.

I try not to think too far into the future. And that also includes tomorrow. I have to stay a musician, despite COVID or anything else that may come along so I keep doing what I’m doing. 

I haven’t been able to have people come over and record with me. I have two friends who share the same kind of mentality that I do. And we talk all the time and one is a friend of mine M, and the other is a friend of mine, Courtney Williams. We, who I call, see well, we seem to be of similar minds, where it’s about the finished product. 

You know now I’m off to my seventh album. You know it’s very difficult at this time to do anything. I could kind of get away with recording songs and finishing them. I don’t know if they’d be the songs that I would have always wanted to record because that requires orchestration and backup vocals and everything. And that might be difficult to achieve under the circumstances.

So that’s what COVID prevents me from doing.  I miss the freedom of running downstairs and I’ll play my bass and try to play a song. Our practice is not the same. I found myself only playing when I’m recording and I know I can deliver. 

But I have to stay positive and hopeful and really believe that things will lift. And I will be able to get together with people again and hopefully be able to record more freely or to continue to do so. What COVID also has done, it’s forcing me to find a medium, digitally or through the internet to get my stuff out. I want to get my stuff out. I want to get one thing out and have it be national, international, global, whether it be through a commercial or movie or TV show or something.  So it’s forcing me to focus more on that.

Mem Nahadr

Composer, Multimedia Producer, Performance Artist

I am Madwoman, also known as Mem Nahadr. 

I am a 21st century contemporary artist. I’ve experienced COVID just as everyone else did in the world…… Globally, Galactically and Gargantuan-like. 

As an artist, and an alchemist, I am called to adjust the perspective for beauty that exists despite. And so I was set to task this year to do just that. 

I have developed empathy for those who have lost loved ones physically, coming to the realization that just as they were energy, energy has moved as it has no beginning and no end. I have been a refugee camp for grandchildren from 1 to 15 years of age and have had a plethora of reasons to know my blessings. 

I have lost access to {the} stage and in turn, found myself awash & anew on endless stages in virtual reality putting my skill set to task learning to livestream concerts and visual exhibitions. I have taken to task the art of assisting friends and colleagues with their sometimes virginal online presence. 

I have seen the joy, glee, spite and hatred being human is . This spectrum has been wide this year and still I have learned so much more about myself. 

I am a woman with Albinism. Quarantine is very familiar to me. I know just what to do with it. I am healthy both physically, mentally and spiritually. I then look forward to being able to dance amongst the joy crowds again. In the meantime, I keep an eye on my emotions, my revelations and my missions. I keep an open mind and look out for any exchanges or offerings. And I keep a hope in my heart for Beauty to continue to blossom amongst the dirt & shit just as it seems to have always. 

There have been lessons to be learned by all of us in this time. But, artists have a special mandate to express those lessons far and wide. So, as I am  a digital & organic multi disciplined, ethereal, virtual & eternal artist as well, I take myself to task by finding new, innovative and easily translatable ways to express those lessons, observations and perspectives.