Quad City Arts is opening a new local exhibit of art created during the pandemic, at its downtown Rock Island gallery, 1715 2nd Ave.
“Art on Lockdown” — featuring 80 artworks from 67 regional artists — will be on display from Friday, Oct. 15, through Dec. 3. The public is invited to a reception Oct. 15 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., to meet the artists, and refreshments will be served.
As “shelter in place” began in March 2020, Quad City Arts’ staff searched for different ways to connect with the community and for a way to encourage artists to keep creating at a confusing time. As most non-essential workers found themselves working from home or not working at all, they needed something constructive to fill their time, according to a Monday release from Quad City Arts.
“Creativity helps people cope with isolation, anxiety, and boredom by refocusing the brain,” the nonprofit group said. “In 2020, creativity showed up in many ways as people learned how to bake bread, speak a new language, play an instrument, or create visual art.
To motivate artists, Quad City Arts decided to hold a no-fee competition with the goal of showing selected works in the Rock Island Gallery. Artists could continue working as they had before the pandemic or try something completely different. The plan proved to be successful since 187 entries were received, many by artists unknown to us previously, said Dawn Wohlford-Metallo, visual arts director for Quad City Arts.
Some of the selected artists had never shown work in an art gallery before, so this challenge represents an exciting breakthrough for them, she said.
The artwork was not required to reflect the pandemic, but since it was top of mind, artists did react to the events of 2020. Many of the artists wrote about what inspired them to create their entries and those words are on display next to their art. Painter Caitlyn Doran of Moline wrote, “Goro goro is the Japanese onomatopoeia for lazing about. I just moved back to the States from Japan, and I never imagined this idle a life was waiting for me.”
Artist Lisa Mahar of Rock Island stated, “My art is great therapy for my inner demons (no pun intended). Art allows me to work through things in a positive way.”
All of the artists’ works will be able to be viewed and purchased online at www.quadcityarts.com/rock-island-gallery.html.