Berkeley artist Erik Schmitt is hoping more people understand the importance of wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help spread the word, he has designed some striking posters to encourage mask-wearing that leverage the global message “My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.”

Schmitt is putting the posters up in Berkeley and hoping the city might endorse the project and help get more of them posted. He said the office of the Mayor of Oakland is already on board and the posters are popping up across that city.

“Mask wearing is working but many are confused about the issue and we need to keep encouraging their use in our communities,” Schmitt told Berkeleyside. “This is a pro bono public service effort on my part. I’m just trying to get the word out because I believe reinforcing the message that we all need to wear masks is essential to our health.”

The last time Schmitt’s work appeared on the streets of Berkeley was in the summer of 2018 when he covered a number of sewer plates, water pipes and power access covers with 23-karat gold leaf. The Gilded Cities project, a collaboration with Nick Bushman, aimed to highlight the Bay Area’s high cost of living.

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