“Socially Distanced,” a new exhibition from Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation and Arizona State University’s The Cooperation in the Apocalypse research team, will analyze how distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic affected humanity through the visual arts.
The exhibition opens Sept. 24, 2021, in the Center Space gallery at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and runs through Jan. 9, 2022. It features work from 17 Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico artists. The works included reflecting empathy and compassion for others and revealing coping strategies.
“In this exhibition, you can see how connected our experiences have been while isolating,” said Laura Hales, curator of learning and innovation at Scottsdale Arts. “This work encompasses feelings of vulnerability, fear, hope, and even humor everyone can relate to.”
The Cooperation in the Apocalypse research team at ASU uses science and scholarship to understand human behavior in times of crisis. Its current research explores the long-term effects of this time of isolation.
Hales said artists in this exhibition have reflected some of the team’s findings in their work. A common thread running through the art is a deep concern for others, a desire to help themselves and others find hope. Pamela Winfrey of the ASU research team said the artworks express myriad ways people have been impacted and exhibit how they have created resilient strategies for psychological survival.
“I believe that the public will be able to see themselves within these artworks,” Winfrey said. “They are funny, aesthetic, and poetic — all methods for dealing with unimaginable grief and shock. These artists give us a window into how we can move forward while paving new ways to think about this new world that we now must live in.”
Among those artists is Patricia Sannit. Sannit has created safe opportunities for the arts to remain visible to the public throughout the pandemic. The Phoenix-based sculptor’s contribution to the exhibition is “Many Hands (hold me),” a ceramics installation that resulted from an artmaking event in her backyard. She invited participants over to create clay hands, and while working, they shared personal stories, connected, and collaborated.
Sannit said she often thinks about the questions of art’s ability to heal and make the world a better place.
“I believe that art has the potency to reanimate a sense of limitless potential, and potentially brings hope,” Sannit said. “I am an optimist and believe in our species’ better impulses.” He hopes this exhibition proves that all was not lost during this dark time.
“Historically, great art, innovation, and creative breakthroughs have emerged from the darkest times in history. I hope that this will once again prove true.” Sannit said.
An opening reception for the exhibition will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at the gallery. Wine, sparkling water, and light snacks will be served. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is located at 7380 E. 2nd Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. For details, visit Scottsdale Arts Learning.
Learn more about the exhibition.