Arts & Humanities

UPR's 15 Things Collection

By Lyndi Robins |

Caden Merrill, USU Photo 1 class, 15 things submission.

Utah Public Radio is collaborating with the Cache Valley Center for the Arts to compile a collection of images that represent 15 things individuals feel they couldn’t have survived the COVID-19 quarantines without.

This project was inspired by NPR’s project, 15 Things Folks Can’t Live Without in A Pandemic, From Ants to Holy Water. The full project can be viewed at their website. (

“I came across this photo project a few months ago and was instantly struck by the power and beauty of seeing other people’s pandemic experiences, told through just 15 objects and a camera lens,” said Katie Swain, development officer at UPR. “As I scrolled through the story, I started to cry thinking about my own 15 things, and the incredible resilience of people everywhere, especially in these last 18 months.”

Students from the USU Photography 1 class, taught by adjunct professor Maria Ellen Huebner, have been invited to be the first contributors to the collection. Some children from the Community Portrait Porch Project will be photographed with their items for the collection as well.

To Swain, the project is an opportunity for members of the Utah community to come together over shared experiences.

“We’ve been forced to live through so much in these last 18 months,” Swain said. “It’s been exhausting and numbing, in many ways. This project is an opportunity to pause and reflect on the moments we’ve all lived through. I hope that in sharing these images we find there are many similarities between our experiences, and that then we can feel the strength of community in telling our story of the 15 things we couldn’t live without during a pandemic.”

Members of the Cache Valley community are also invited to contribute to the collection. Submissions can be made to Swain at or to the Cache Valley Center for the Arts through the email

Selected pieces of the collection contributed by USU students will be available for viewing at The Moth Mainstage event being held Oct. 21 at the Ellen Eccles Theatre. Other selected pieces from the collection will be on display at the December Gallery Walk held at the Cache Valley Center for the Arts.


Lyndi Robins
Communications Journalist
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences


Community 378stories Society 372stories Culture 36stories UPR 16stories


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