“Ugly, I know,” Don Porter says of Tribute to the Orderlies, his photograph of a temporary bas-relief sculpture. “I learned the orderlies at the nursing homes have even less PPE than their hospital brothers and sisters.”

In this new work created during the shelter-at-home order, Porter depicts an orderly in a tattered yellow gown entering a COVID-19 patient’s room. “It’s ugly and scary in there — bristling with fear, virus, and death,” he explains. “Still she goes in, facing death, willingly, for us. They clean it all up. Imagine that.

Tribute to the Orderlies earned Porter a $500 grant from the California Desert Arts Council (CDAC) to “keep art alive.” The nonprofit organization is offering emergency relief for working visual and performing artists in the Coachella Valley whose livelihood has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. CDAC and La Quinta Arts Foundation established a $50,000 Keep Art Alive fund to award grants to local artists and arts organizations who create thoughtful, inspiring, and relevant works responding to the crisis.

Porter is a fixture on the Coachella Valley art scene, with a history of exhibitions with the Artist Council, Desert Art Center exhibitions, and local galleries. His current work involves sculpting temporary pieces with a variety of materials and methods of assembly. “I photograph the sculptures as they transform, disintegrate, and cease to be what they were,” he explains. “The photographs are requiems to these solitary moments, as I acknowledge the impermanence of all there is.”

Visit Don Porter online at donporter.com