2020 may be best summed up with the words from the Grateful Dead “what a long, strange trip it’s been." The year started out with life as usual and then bam – a pandemic hit our community, state, country and the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on everyone. Artists and non-artists alike are adapting to a world of new normal. These changes keep us at home more with less interaction with others. Today we will share how some artist have been impacted by the virus and what this means for their creations.
We contacted local artists to see how they feel about the virus and how it has affected their artwork. Local potter Genivee Stein has embraced the time to increase her knowledge base. Musician Geovanni Jean continues playing music solo however misses jam sessions with fellow musicians. Fiber artist Betty Blessin has been spending time learning to work with new mediums and creating new pieces for the upcoming holiday season. Allow us to introduce you to these artists and share with you their thoughts about the present and the future.
Genivee Stein, potter
Human contact is so important. I have enjoyed the alone time to ponder ideas, to cruise Pinterest, and watch instructional videos.
On the other hand, the actual work I do has to be on my own and practiced with some regularity. I value having a home studio and I do enjoy working alone on projects. However, being with fellow potters is such a treasure. The inspiration and encouragement from being around others playing in the mud nurtures and stimulates my creative juices and reinforces my love of making something beautiful and often useful that gives another pleasure to hold.
I have enjoyed the alone time to ponder ideas, to cruise Pinterest, and watch instructional videos. Slowing down has forced me to look at everything a little longer and make me more aware and grateful for the life I enjoy and not just as a potter.
Giovanni Jean UNCG Jazz Studies Major
Covid as a musician has definitely been a struggle. We as musicians rely on that physical connection between players to grow and develop our skills. Without that, the music that we practice becomes very bland, and even the inspiration to practice can be lost in some moments. Even though we have virtual bands that we can participate and play for, the flow and soul of the music is completely gone. There is just an energy that occurs when musicians work together face to face to work on a musical goal that can’t be reached on a simple zoom call. I can’t wait for the day where I can safely connect with my fellow jazz musicians and play music the way it’s supposed to be played: as a side by side community.
Betty Blessin, fiber artist
When the shutdown first started it was strange to be home all the time. I still work so I was used to seeing and interacting with people throughout the week and then on the weekends through interaction with fellow artists. It was a huge adjustment to deal without the social interaction. Once I got the work from home under control, I started thinking what direction my artwork would take. I normally create art quilts but was not motivated to create any new ones. I knit at night to justify the time I spent in front of the TV. I also made some beaded starfish to use as pendants. Eventually I decided to try a new media – metal clay.
Fortunately, I was able to take in person classes to learn the metal clay techniques and even became a certified instructor (but I need more practice before I even think about teaching). I found it very pleasing to create my own silver jewelry and enjoyed the synergy in the classes.
I finally had the time to enter works in juried exhibits, so I gathered up previously made art quilts and entered a couple of exhibits. That seemed to do the trick to inspire me to start planning new quilt works.
So now I am back to work some at my office and am now creating new art in multiple media.
MAC at the Market
When the shutdown went into effect, we worried how the Mayodan Arts Center (MAC) would survive. Classes were no longer an option as we could not open to the public. In order to help support local artists and keep the MAC in the public presence we decided to go out into the community. Starting in June the MAC set up at the Western Rockingham Farmers Market. It was safer to set up outdoors, social distancing was observed, and sanitizing stations set up. The important thing is we were able to represent several artists by displaying and selling their work. We were able to let folks know about the MAC. The MAC was at the market most Saturdays June through October. We plan on being back next year!