From methods of coping to just wanting others to “feel happy,” local artists expressed their struggle and endurance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic through paint and photographs in the Rome Art Association’s “Pandemic Art Show: What Have You Created During this Historic Event?” to be on display from March 1 through April 30.
The show will be on display at the Cinema Capitol Gallery located at 230 W. Dominick St., with a virtual reception to open the exhibit on Friday, March 5. There will be links to join the reception on RAA’s website at: www.romeartassociation.com, or through the organization’s social media Facebook page.
Members of the community also still have the opportunity to participate and have until Saturday, Feb. 27, to submit. Cost is $5 for RAA members, or $10 for non-members. Participants are asked to submit one piece of art per artist that has been created during the pandemic, but does not need to be pandemic-related. Drop-off times for artwork at the Cinema Capitol Gallery are 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, or from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27.
The exhibit may be viewed during Cinema Capitol’s showtimes throughout the duration of the show. Pandemic Art Show has been opened to RAA members and the general public, including children in kindergarten through 12th grade to celebrate Youth Art Month in March.
Three artists participating in the show recently shared their experiences about creating art during the pandemic and how expressing themselves creatively helped them deal with some of the challenges over the last 11 months.
“The pandemic hit shortly after I acquired a secluded studio space in my new home which was a godsend to making art. Typically, I would have been attending a class at MWPAI (Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute), but that was cancelled last March,” artist Lynne Reichhart reflected. “This gave me a chance to take what I have learned and work more on my own. I found that thanks to the extra time provided by the pandemic, I was able to motivate myself to paint more and to work on projects I have been wanting to tackle for some time, including the enjoyable task of reading the pile of art magazines that have been accumulating in my studio.”
Photographer Larry Migliori said initially his photography was “quite suppressed” as most printing and photography shops were closed for quite some time before they were “cleared” to open.
“Frankly, this was a depressing time for me. Most of my time was (and has) been redirected to helping out with family needs, running to a myriad of monthly medical appointments and, when able, finding time to rest for short periods of time,” Migliori shared. “The cutoff of friends and the unexpected loss of a favorite friend added to the burden of this time.”
During this difficult time, Migliori said he was able to turn to other art forms as well to help express the array of emotions he was experiencing. He also reflected by writing personal thoughts in journals or working on complex math problems to take his focus off the sadness and frustration.
“Though many of my photography images are still in the pre-processing stage, my greatest production during this time has been in the format of my sketchbooks and journals,” Migliori said. “Nearly every day I document new concepts in art, photography, teaching and education, as well as art projects that engage physics, mathematics, color theory, synaesthetics, social consciousness and more. I am at no loss for ideas. I am very restricted on time to work, however.”
He said, “I learn daily and try to engage many more topics than art in its traditional sense. I am currently working on ideas that merge quantum physics and art. Throughout this troubled time, I still remain engaged in the unique idiosyncrasies and serendipity of life. I do hope this time will pass and expect that when we can once again envelop ourselves in fresh air, sunlight and the unmuted sounds of our friends and nature, it will be a good time.”
Artist Rebecca Petrie said while she was able to remain as busy during the pandemic as in “normal” times, she used the last 11 months as an opportunity to inspire “happiness” for those who share in her art.
“I think I’ve been the same amount of productive during the pandemic, but I’d been inspired in a different way, partially driven by guilt of not getting anything done when I have unlimited free time,” Petrie said. “Turns out, having unlimited free time doesn’t necessarily drive you to do good work, so I’ve been inspired by the vague idea of making people happy with my art.”
Rome Art Association is a non-profit organization, founded in 1958, whose mission is to promote and encourage the talents and abilities of its members, to stimulate public interest in and appreciation of fine arts and to encourage the development of facilities in Rome for such purposes. Monthly programs feature critiques from guests and demonstrations from successful local artists. RAA also organizes solo and group shows for members at the Cinema Capitol Gallery. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315-338-4828.