Arts, Dining & Entertainment

Southern Vermont Arts Center unveils new exhibition, Unmasked: Artful Responses to the Pandemic

By Irene Cole, Courtesy of SVAC
“ Journey,” 2020, oil

Saturday, Jan. 16—MANCHESTER—Southern Vermont Arts Center (SVAC) is pleased to announce a powerful winter exhibition in which artists reveal their struggles, creative breakthroughs, perspectives, and personal relationships through new works of art. This thematic exhibition titled “Unmasked: Artful Responses to the Pandemic’’ unfolds over the sequence of 10 galleries in SVAC’s Yester House.

Opening Jan. 16, Unmasked: Artful Responses to the Pandemic will explore the myriad ways that pandemic-related challenges have impacted artists, catalyzing meaningful shifts in their artistic output. For nearly a year, our lives have been impacted in unprecedented ways by the coronavirus. Like many other sectors, the art field has faced enormous challenges. But there have been silver linings, too—remarkable instances of creativity, collaboration, compassion, and change.

SVAC is creating space for visual artists to present artwork influenced by and made during the pandemic. For these individuals, creating art during this period has become a form of protection against the negative effects of the coronavirus.

By Barbara Ishikura, Courtesy of SVAC
“Kaira Quarantined,” 2020

“This exhibition combines an exciting mix of artists, showcasing not only some of the tremendous talent that resides in the state of Vermont but also bringing national and even international perspectives into the conversation about Covid’s impact on artists,” said Alison Crites, SVAC’s manager of Exhibitions and Interpretive Engagement. “What we hope will be especially meaningful for visitors is how these artful responses to the pandemic invite us all to consider the ways in which cultivating creativity in our own lives can help us cope with hardship.”

The exhibition includes diverse media including 2D work from watercolor to ink to charcoal to acrylic; and photography, textile/fiber art, book making, 3D masks, video, a site-specific outdoor installation, and more. Of the over 40 participating artists, several are part of unique group initiatives that formed or gained traction during the pandemic, such as the Tiny Pricks Project. Contributors to this project, from around the world, stitched Donald Trump’s words into textiles, creating the material record of his presidency and of the movement against it.

Through their art, the artists of Unmasked offer compelling responses to many relatable challenges, such as how to overcome isolation, how to maintain productivity, how to find solace, and how to document these events for posterity. The exhibition also includes a Response Station, where visitors are invited to share their own stories of creativity during the pandemic.

Please check the exhibition page on SVAC’s website for upcoming programs related to the exhibition (svac.org/class/unmasked.)

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