Krannert Center for the Performing Arts seeks volunteers for sewing COVID-19 masks


Photo Courtesy of Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune / TNS

A Chicago woman makes masks in her home on April 9, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Heather Robinson, Assistant Daytime News Editor

The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts is currently seeking community volunteers to aid in making gowns and masks as a way of contributing efforts to the COVID-19 battle. 

On their website, KCPA posted an advertisement asking for those in the community who have sewing abilities to volunteer. Those who contribute will help to construct masks, gowns and caps needed for non-surgical purposes.

Sewing patterns for the materials were created in joint efforts by the Krannert Center Costume shop, local medical personnel and various University engineers and scientists. The team was able to create technical renderings which volunteers can use in constructing the products.

All fabric, patterns and other sewing materials will be provided by the Costume Shop. In order to abide by the recommendations of social distancing, volunteers will be able to pick up the materials at scheduled times in the locations listed on the website. There is also a no-contact option in which project collaborators will drop off materials at the volunteers’ residence.

Once items have been constructed by volunteers, they will be returned to KCPA and sanitized by campus research facilities. Carle Foundation Hospital, OSF Healthcare and the Champaign County Emergency Operations Center will all receive the masks for non-surgical use. 

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Update 12 p.m. 

Krannert’s creation of gowns and masks is part of larger University efforts to supply personal protective equipment for medical professionals.

The Grainger College of Engineering and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s Health Maker Lab have partnered to design protective products, including a face shield component that will be beta tested this week by local healthcare professionals.

The face shield design and specifications have been made public on the project website, and the University expects to produce at least 2,000 of these shields for local use.

“The team is collaborating to design and test prototypes for other PPE products as well as sterilization technologies, including N95 respirators, disposable and reusable gowns, masks and caps, and mid- and small-scale sterilization technologies,” said Helen Nguyen, professor in Engineering and lead project researcher in a press release.

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