“My studio has been a retreat during COVID. It has provided a space to process frustration in a positive and constructive manner.”
These words, written by painter Jeanne Fisher, one of the twenty one Great Lakes Bay artists featured in Creative 360’s latest exhibit, are indicative of the way the pandemic has influenced and affected art and artists. Admission is free, however pre-registration is recommended as state occupancy guidelines will be in place.
“Art has the capacity to bring joy as well as sadness, to bring the world into focus or to offer an escape from the current reality,” remarked Colleen Reed, Creative 360’s Program Director and the curator of the exhibit. “This pandemic has caused Creative 360 to reimagine and adapt our scheduled exhibitions at the same time it has upended the creative habits of artists. For many of the featured artists, the pandemic unleashed interesting new opportunities.”
The idea for the exhibit came about in a brainstorming session, where Reed was challenged to find a replacement for a previously planned show that was cancelled by the artists due to COVID and travel safety concerns.
“We were talking about how the pandemic has changed absolutely everything that we are doing in our lives”, Reed stated. “I started to think about how COVID must change the way that artists not only look at their world, but also how they approach their work. Some view the solitude-forced introspection as a blessing. Others saw a shift in their focus as they made sense of the changes happening around them.”
Some artists, such as Steve Parkhurst, whose abstract landscapes and cityscapes and industrial interpretations are featured in the exhibit, found that they had the luxury of slowing down their approach, spending more time with their work than before the pandemic, leading to more ‘informed work.’ Others found that the pandemic changed their approach to the world as a whole and this is reflected in their art. For instance, Sara Clark’s work during this time is a celebration of the mundane.
“Perhaps our bar, as artists, has been set too high, and we’ve lost sight of the more important things that shape life and give it meaning,” Clark remarked in her artist’s notes for the show.
The exhibition features the art of Valerie Allen, Charles Bonham, Sara Clark, Jeanne Fisher, Avram Golden, Ann Kowaleski, Matt Lewis, Alan Maciag, John McCormick, Jody McDonald-Rider, Armin Mersmann, Mike Mosher, Johanna Paas, Steve Parkhurst, Mark Piotrowski, Wilma Romatz, Stacie Rose, Sally Rose, Thomas Tomasek, Nancy Vader-McCormick, and Rebecca Zeiss.
As with all exhibits at Creative 360, there is no charge for entry. The center is open Monday through Friday from 9 am until 5 pm. Guests who are interested in viewing the work during a time where there are fewer people in the building should call the office to determine the best time to visit.