The humble penny — on one hand, the country's smallest denomination of currency; on the other hand, a symbol of good fortune.
But take a closer look next time there's some spare change, on one of the small coins there might be an even smaller message engraved along the edge. But that tiny message has a big meaning.
Brooklyn artist Jill Magid had 120,000 brand new 2020 pennies engraved with the words, "The body was already so fragile."
She said it's supposed to reflect the state of the country at the start of the COVID pandemic, and how much worse things got. Magid also said the word "body" also represents both the human body and the economic body.
"When the pandemic hit, all of the cracks in the system became more apparent," Magid said. "120,000 equals $1,200, which is the stimulus check."
So why was the penny chosen?
"They exist as these images and objects of hope. That we throw then into wishing wells, and have them carry our dreams. So they are these poetic beautiful objects," said Justine Ludwig, who commissioned the project, called "Tender." She said that the name stems from the world being "in a moment where we really need more tenderness, more kindness, a reminder of our own humanity."
Magid is distributing the engraved pennies from her studio in Brooklyn, as well as spending them at bodegas all around the city. She calls her piece a dispersed monument — instead of a monument, it's made up of small pieces that spread, just like the coronavirus itself.
She said her goal would be for whomever finds one to think on the meaning and on this moment in history, then spend it so someone else can do the same.
"I hope that they circulate for a very long time," Magid said. "Pennies circulate for like 40 years generally, so they become a kind of mark of this moment."