A man in a green striped shirt and jeans with a crew cut and beard is seated on concrete steps holding a yellow floral arrangement in the shape of a heart. Two slices of cake are at his feet on plates.

A week or so ago, Danny bought 2 Quarantine Cakes from Tinker’s Cake Shop. He liked their mission of donating 10% of all sales to The Lee Initiative, which helps out-of-work hospitality workers in Lexington. He gave one cake to his mom, one to friends who, he felt, needed the reminder to “Stay Home. Eat Cake,” one of the available cake designs.

This week, Danny wanted cake he could eat, but couldn’t decide which flavor to get. So he ordered one honey pistachio cake and one chocolate cake. He ran out with individual offerings of honey pistachio cake for us when Kremena and I arrived, which marked the first time we had to say no to cake.

As an environmental educator at Bluegrass Greensource, Danny is always thinking about environmental lessons and projects he can do with the hundreds of kids he works with. Yesterday morning, he made a heart from dandelions and spent the day trying to figure out how to press it so it could last longer. Kremena and I both felt his carefully constructed flower sculpture was a pretty accurate representation of Danny’s own big heart.

Audio Transcript

My name is Danny Woolums and I have lived in Lexington for a little over 10 years now.

When I think of an America that I would like to live in, I think of the same stories that brought my mother to this country long ago. I think of this land of opportunity, where we are all able to prosper without having to worry about being exploited. I think of this land where it doesn’t matter what your name is, what your sex or gender identity is, what your ability or age is, or who you love or where you come from; where we all have a seat at the table. I think of an America where our environment is clean, our air and waters are safe to breathe and play in. I think of an America like the statue of liberty welcomes people to, home to the homeless, tempest-tossed, huddled masses hoping to be part of something more. A melting pot of many, greater together than we are apart.

Lexington in the Time of COVID-19 is an artwork about people practicing social distancing at a time of a deadly virus. And also offering kindness.

Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova capture photographs at the periphery of American culture, where drag queens, discarded couches, and abandoned motel signs exist.