Art Live: Coping with coronavirus

As social distancing continues, many artists have embraced social media and online virtual platforms to share their work but they aren’t sure how things will shake out for them in the near or distant future. Two artists share their thoughts about the unprecedented closures.

Lynnette Shelley, a native of Delaware, lives in Ambler and has a studio is in Norristown. Many of her spring events were closed or canceled including a solo show in March, up for just a few days before being taken down, and the Montgomery County Studio Tour which was canceled entirely for this year. She has work in the Yellow Springs Art Show which moved online and she is still planning to participate in the Chester County Studio Tour which was pushed back to mid-September.

Triple Fish Swirl by Lynnette Shelley

For many artists, making a living entails following several avenues to secure income. When a well-planned schedule collapses, it is challenging and time consuming to put a new one back together. Shelley said this about a June show at Red Raven Art Company in Lancaster, “We are playing by ear. I've been working on art for that show for a year now so it'll be painful if it cancels.”

She has applied for some virtual shows that are expected to happen in May, and she hosted her own virtual show on May 2 on Facebook, featuring all affordable miniature paintings. She may do another one in June. When asked about changes to her studio routines, Shelley said, “My studio is about 20 some minutes from my house. When the stay at home order came in I went there, collected some supplies and have been mostly working from home. My work load has gone unchanged. I had a commission for 50 miniature paintings, and I completed those a couple of weeks ago. I've also been making paintings for future shows, whenever they may be, as well as virtual shows. As far as subject matter, most of my work is still very positive and uplifting. I've been concentrating on cheerful images, flowers and butterflies since taking a lot of walks; even with everything going on you can't help but see how beautiful the world is.”

50 Miniatures by Lynnette Shelley

Regarding the future of the arts in our area, Shelley had this to say, “Many galleries and non-profits are probably going to close unless they get grants or support from the community. Artists have always lived precariously and some will be deeply hurt by this. I'm hanging in there as I already worked for myself full time and am used to living somewhat on the edge. I'm just trying to take it day by day and adapt as necessary. I do hope that people will see things differently on the other side of this and realize the importance of small business, independent workers and the gig economy (which most artists and galleries are a part of).” Visit https://www.lynnetteshelley.com/ to see more about Shelley and her work. Visit Yellow Springs Art to see this year’s show online: http://yellowsprings.org/event/5959/

Bowls by Andrew Snyder

Andrew Snyder is a ceramic artist and Associate Professor of Art at West Chester University (WCU). His schedule was greatly affected by the shutdown. Since the university closed its doors, he has had to quickly adjust to teaching classes online and move a lecture online that he had planned to give at a national conference in March. All five of WCU’s spring and summer exhibitions, which Snyder plans far in advance, were cancelled. A summer exhibition Snyder curated at Baltimore Clayworks is postponed as is his home summer workshop series.

In spite of the facts, Snyder feels optimistic saying, “Potters are used to disappointment and are quick to adapt unexpected changes, so I feel that we have risen to the occasion. Most artists are creative problem solvers anyway, so I feel like the arts are actually thriving during quarantine despite the social distancing. So many artists are creating fantastic online content that would not have been made otherwise.”

Andrew Snyder's home studio

Asked how his studio routine had changed, Snyder said, “I actually am in the studio much more now since I have only left the house to go to the grocery store. The work is different in that I have not made much clay work. As you know, we potters are dependent on firing and I do not have a kiln at home. Consequently, I have been working more on my woodworking and furniture design.” Snyder is hoping for the best but is preparing for prolonged social distancing. He is keeping busy designing, planning, and building a program for an online object design/woodshop class in the spring of 2021. For more information about Andrew Snyder and his work visit: www.andrewjsnyder.com

Until we can gather in person again, please support local art centers, art organizations and artists by visiting websites and social media for virtual exhibitions, giveaways, creative projects and more. More about artists during the quarantine in the weeks to come.

Whatever you do this week, support the arts!!

 

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About Constance McBride

A native of Philadelphia, Constance McBride lived in Arizona for 16 years, where desert observations made a transformative impact on her work as a research based visual artist. Passionate about contemporary art, she was actively engaged in the local arts community. She served as a board member for several art organizations, managed an artist collective/gallery space, curated and juried several exhibitions and wrote for two arts publications in Phoenix. She taught ceramics at Shemer Art Center and Museum and exhibited her work both locally and nationally. McBride returned to Pennsylvania in 2018 and resides in Chester Springs with her husband and two dogs. In West Chester, she serves as a board member at The Art Trust Gallery at Meridian Bank and teaches ceramics at Chester County Art Association. She also teaches at Clay on Main in Oley, PA. She is a member of American Craft Council, Philadelphia Sculptors, and Women’s Caucus for Art, Philadelphia Chapter.

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