The artist JR created a virtual yearbook for high school students whose graduation ceremonies were canceled.

Daria Simone Harper
May 18, 2020 4:09PM, via Observer

LeBron James speaks during “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020” on May 16, 2020. Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for EIF & XQ.

This past weekend, the artist JR contributed to a television special honoring high school graduates of 2020. The program, called Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class Of 2020, was created to celebrate this year’s graduates, as they have had physical graduation ceremonies cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to involvement from several celebrities, the program featured a virtual yearbook of sorts developed by JR.

His global art project “Inside Out” teamed up with the XQ Institute to create a massive digital yearbook for the high school graduates of 2020. The project website invites graduating seniors to participate in “the largest yearbook, ever” in three simple steps. Students must save the Inside Out Graduate lens, available only on Snapchat; take a photo using the Graduate Together lens and save it; and finally, submit their photo with a message to their fellow graduates. The artist’s portraits of graduating students appeared behind basketball superstar Lebron James, writer and actress Lena Waithe, singer Alicia Keys, and other celebrity speakers during the Graduate Together broadcast.

This isn’t the first project that JR has created during the current global crisis. Last month, he launched several COVID-19 relief initiatives, including a food distribution center, and online art courses. He also created a public intervention in Paris for the cover of a special issue of Time magazine devoted to the crisis.

Daria Simone Harper