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Social Distancing Together

The Covid-19 global pandemic has in many ways put a stop to the way we live our everyday lives, but it hasn't stopped us from being creative. During the early stages of it hitting the United States, when schools were starting to close, and the reality of this situation was just beginning to set in, my wife had a brilliant idea. She said we should use our in house gallery, GUTS (Gallery Under the Stairs), to host an exhibit. We could reach out to our friends, family, and everyone in between and ask them to send us stuff they are making during the time of "Social Distancing". After a handful of conversations, and a wee bit of planning, designing, and wordsmithing, we put out the call. Below is the result of that call, and it has been a major pleasure to see how people are being so creative and expressive in this unusual time.

The first submission was a children's story called Thomas's Promises, written and illustrated by Dianne Pawlowski. The story goes through a day in the life of Thomas and the things he promises not to do. The story is complimented by cool cut-outs of the pages that sync up nicely with what is happening on previous and subsequent pages.

This artwork is titled "Paradise Lost" and was created by Miles Hill. He writes about his piece: "I made a sunrise with palm trees and birds. This reminds me of my favorite trip to Florida. This trip was special because it was so fun and I will never forget it. Marquette is a snowy and cold place, so this is why I made this. I would be able to go somewhere warm and sunny but the virus is causing me to stay home, and not go anywhere."

This cross-stitch piece was completed by Tiffany Stachnik. She says of her piece: "This work represents two of my personal hopes. One, that spring will roll around and this COVID-19 nightmare will be over, and two, that the global community will grow together from this shared experience. There isn't much more to it than that. At this point in time, all we have is hope, much like the hope for renewal that spring brings to us when we first see flowers peeking out of the soil.

As our uniquely audio contribution, we have "Beautiful Landscapes Vol. 2" by Sonic Perfume. This album was submitted by the saxophone player of the group, Patrick Booth. Sonic Perfume is an avant-garde instrumental journey. You can find this album, and more work from Sonic Perfume here.

Cindy Gunn writes of her artwork, "Imagination Flows the Distance":

"This started out inspired by Nietzche, 'We have art so we do not die of reality' or 'We have art lest we perish from the truth.' Imagination equals escape. Nietzche wrote that 'The world is a work of art that gives birth to itself.' I diverged a bit to birth this collage."

This artwork is titled "Calcifers PSA: Stay Inside", submitted by Amanda Johnson of Phoenix, Arizona. She writes of her piece: "I created this fan art piece of Calcifer to illustrate the importance of keeping yourself and others safe during this time. Social distancing is difficult, but hopefully this lil guy can spark some happiness in someone's home.

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