A! Magazine for the Arts

Pandemic art collection at Reece Museum

September 22, 2020

What do artists do when life is good? They make art. What do artists do when life is not so good? They make art. What do they do when things are the most challenging, upsetting, stressful or terrifying? They make art.

“We recognized early on in the quarantine experience that we are living through extraordinary times, when there is a clear ‘before and after,’ ” says Rebecca Proffitt, collections manager at East Tennessee State University’s Reece Museum. “Along with this realization came the idea that art is an important way to process this collective experience by making it visible and creating a space for reflection and discussion.”

As a result, the Reece Museum and Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU, community supporters Bravissima! Women Sponsoring the Arts!, and others joined in an initiative this summer to purchase artwork created in 2019 or 2020 for a “Local Art in the Age of the 2020 Global Pandemic” special collection which will be housed in the Reece Museum’s Permanent Collection.

The call for entries specified that the art be created in 2019 or 2020 by artists who live and/or work in the first Congressional District of Tennessee, which includes Northeast Tennessee counties of Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington and parts of Jefferson and Sevier counties.

From the 106 artists who submitted entries, the jurors selected 40 artworks for the Reece Museum’s “Local Art in the Age of the 2020 Global Pandemic” collection.

Listed in alphabetical order, those artists are: Kailyn Beitzel, Sam Boven, Laken Bridges, Danielle Byington, Joel Carillet, Teresa Crowe, Mary de Wit, Cristy Dunn, Richard Dwyer, Joan Elliott, Jay Flack, Brian Fletcher, Ron Fondaw, Lyn Govette, Mike Helbing, John Hilton, Storm Ketron, Val Lyle, Gregory Marlow, Jocelyn Mathewes, Joy Messimer, Shannon Mettler, Katie Murphy, Mary Nees, Emily Parris, Charles Peters, Marie Porterfield, Rick Ramsey, James Rathschmidt, Mark Ray, Anne Reid, Garry Renfro, Jonathan Reynolds, Thomas Root, Mike Rose, Martha Rubenstein, Debra Savell Stewart, Beverly Thomas Jenkins, Christy Ward and Lauren Whipple.

An exhibition date has not been set. For more on the collection, visithttps://www.etsu.edu/cas/cass/reece