Sewing Hope, USD Costume Supervisor Makes Masks for USD Employees and the San Diego Community

Sewing is an act of compassion for Corey Johnston, MFA, an adjunct assistant professor in the University of San Diego Department of Theatre.

It all started when his colleague, Farrah Karapetian, MFA, an assistant professor of visual arts, approached him with the idea of making masks to help those on the front-line of the COVID-19 fight. Shortly thereafter, the County of San Diego began requiring all public-facing employees to wear masks. At this point, Johnston knew he was in a position to help. As the faculty costume supervisor at USD, Johnston not only had the materials he needed but also the equipment required to begin production. With a $1,000 donation from the USD Changemaker Hub to purchase additional supplies, Johnston set to work creating these masks.

“I knew the Theatre program—of all programs on campus—would be uniquely situated to do this. It’s that simple,” says Johnston. “I knew we had some small portion of resources on hand when currently everyone is looking for them, and the only place on campus that has sewing machines. It was the perfect storm of opportunity and responsibility.”

Since starting, Johnston has created 400 masks. Part of the “You Are Essential” initiative through the College of Arts and Sciences, Johnston’s masks will be provided to USD’s essential employees who are still working on campus, as well as donated to the university’s community partners. For him, it’s about serving the community, any way he knows how. Because of this, Johnston is sewing as fast as he can to ensure that his work can help those around him.

– Allyson Meyer ‘16, ‘21


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