By Fiona Campbell/Quinte Arts Council
The pandemic has forced us to re-imagine what our lives look like: how we work, how we connect with friends and family, how we pass time, and how we create. At the Quinte Arts Council we’ve seen artists exploring new mediums or creative processes, taking on new projects, learning new ways of doing — and being.
We’ve also heard people toss about the words “new normal” (if there is anything “normal” about any aspect of our lives right now), but within that catch phrase there is a deeper possibility: an opportunity for us to evaluate our priorities, and get clear on what is important.
Loss can help us shape our idea of what matters most: what feeds our hearts and souls. As we move through the coming year and public gatherings are once something to be celebrated and not feared, and Zoom calls are replaced with hugs, how can we re-imagine a world post COVID-19?
The past year has also forced us to take an unwavering look at the harsh realities of living in a world where Black, Brown, Indigenous and People of Colour bodies have fundamentally different experiences and opportunities. The Black Lives Matter movement, reignited by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, has catalyzed a global reckoning: a time to confront systemic racism, inequality and white supremacy within our own communities and lives, to re-imagine a world of equal access to rights, freedoms and privileges afforded to others, that is, white bodies.
Art has always been a powerful medium for capturing a moment in time, and so the QAC is excited (and curious!) about our current call for submissions for Expressions, our biennial juried show and sale. And yes, the theme for this year is “Re-Imagine.”
Open to both QAC members and non-members, Expressions welcomes entries from artists working in any and all media, including potters, weavers, glassblowers, quilters, painters, photographers, woodworkers, carvers, sculptors, jewellers, metal workers, textile artists, folk artists, mixed media arts, and more. Work must be created since Expressions 2019 and not have been previously exhibited. Why? Because part of our core mandate is to cultivate creativity, and we invite artists to submit work that speaks to what it means to “Re-Imagine.”
We have two exceptional jurors for the show – Valerie Kent, a visual artist and teacher based in Cavan, Ont., and Bill Reddick, a renowned ceramic artist and potter with a studio in Peterborough, Ont. – who will be blind judging all submissions and selecting work based on their own criteria, as well as interpretation of the theme. They will be awarding two $300 Juror’s Choice Awards, as well as a Craft Ontario Community Award
($200). Community members can vote on their favourite for the People’s Choice Award ($150 gift certificate to Barratt’s Office Pro).
Currently the show is scheduled to run live from May 6 to June 3 at the J.M. Parrott Gallery in Belleville, Ont. However, the past year has taught us the need to be nimble and flexible with event planning, so if provincial regulations prohibit in-person gatherings and/or if the Gallery is closed to the public, the show will be held virtually.
What future can you Re-Imagine? We invite you to share your vision with us through your art.
The deadline for online registration is April 10, and art must be delivered on May 1. Complete details are available at quinteartscouncil.org/2021-expressions.
Originally published in the Belleville Intelligencer, February 26, 2021 issue.