VAN WERT — Wassenberg Art Center’s latest exhibit is truly a sign of the times.
Executive Director Hope Wallace put out the call for the art to share what artists have created to “deal with the crazy” that is 2020 — COVID-19, protests and anything and everything in between.
“We’ve all been cooped up, we’re all under tension constantly and that has to come out in some way,” Wallace said for the reasoning behind the exhibit. “We encourage people to let it out creatively, so this ‘IMPACT!’ exhibit was an outreach to channel some of the energies that have been happening.”
The exhibit includes about 40 pieces from regional artists ranging in one of the widest varieties of mediums the gallery has ever seen. This was also the first show Wassenberg opened up to crafting.
“It’s maybe not as large as some of our tried-and-true traditional shows every year, but it’s absolutely one of the most diverse and creative,” Wallace said.
One of the pieces that stands out most in her mind, Wallace said, is a Christmas tree skirt created with heirloom linens by Marie Markward, of Van Wert, who received honorable mention for her piece.
“It’s really unique and really well-made,” Wallace said of the piece. “It’s all in shades of white and cream, it’s really quite beautiful. Along that vein, we have a couple of embroidered masks — one is a wedding mask which is another white on white treatment. We’ve displayed those on mask forms so they look pretty cool on the walls.”
Demonstrating its range, the exhibit’s award-winners included a print piece “Lonely and In Vain” by Angie Stokes, of Ottawa, a linocut print “Van Wert Diptych” by Eva Yarger, of Van Wert, and the quilt “Crazy Days” by Elgarda McGee, of Venedocia.
“We have a really interesting piece by a younger artist, Alixandra Gemmer, depicting Black Lives Matter,” Wallace said. “It’s a mixed media piece depicting the murder of George Floyd. There are sticks like it’s a protest sign, but it’s mounted on cardboard. There’s also an acrylic painting that features spirits that seem to be rising up from out of a hospital called ‘Flying to the Stars.’”
Not only did Wallace say she wanted to see what people have been working on to help them cope, but also said she hopes the exhibit inspires others to turn to a similar outlet.
“I do believe that creativity is basic human nature — it’s inherent whether you’re a bricklayer or a cake decorator or a cook,” she said. “If people just allow themselves to and aren’t too hard on themselves and don’t get discouraged, people can allow that creativity to work for them and they can be much happier.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.