Inside JCPRD: Resilience, Reflection, Rebuilding: Artists respond to Covid-19

By Fine Arts Coordinator Devin Graham

The arts have the remarkable ability to create a sense of togetherness, belonging, and community. They can help decrease stress, loneliness, and anxiety. They can provide opportunities to reflect, process experiences and feelings, imagine what our future might look like, and connect us through our common humanity.

For a new exhibit titled Resilience, Reflection, Rebuilding: Artists Respond to Covid-19, local artists were asked to create a reflection of their experiences and feelings during the COVID-19 pandemic and to consider the pandemic as a catalyst toward change. This show will complement the temporary exhibit, Rising to the Challenge: Suburban Strength in Difficult Times, presented by the Johnson County Museum.

Artist Adrian Marsh painted A Never Ending Battle

Artist Adrian Marsh stated, “I knew I had to make a piece to reflect this historical time period, something people could look at in the future and clearly see what was going on.” And it is just that, as artists, historians, and art advocates for a better world, we felt compelled to provide a response to this pivotal period in our global history. In doing so, we were able to provide an outlet for our community during a time of great need as an essential resource.

The Call for Entry closed on July 15 with 97 works of art submitted. An external curatorial team worked rapidly to make determinations on July 16 and shared notifications to artists on July 17. Fifty-four artists were selected with 64 works of art including painting, photography, mixed media, sculpture, textiles, and multi-media. The curatorial team was comprised of Devin Graham, fine arts coordinator for JCPRD and mixed media artist; Allison Bowman, administrative assistant for the Arts Council of Johnson County and painter; Kwanza Humphrey, painter; Jason Piggie, photographer and videographer; and Andrew Ordonez, program supervisor for Imagine That! KC and mixed media artist.

Resilience, Reflection, Rebuilding: Artists Respond to Covid-19 will be on view and free to the public at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center beginning July 31 through January 22.

Artwork will be voted on by the public and approved by the Johnson County Museum Collections Committee to become part of the museum’s permanent collection as part of its Collecting COVID-19 initiative. The winning artist(s) will be awarded a financial prize.

This exhibition is produced in partnership with the Arts Council of Johnson County and the Johnson County Museum.

The collecting competition has been generously underwritten by the Johnson County Museum Foundation. The foundation is a not-for-profit partner of the Johnson County Museum that supports and promotes exhibit development, educational programs, and special events at the Johnson County Museum.

The Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center is located at 8788 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, Kan.