The coronavirus quarantine inspired some to travel outside of their comfort zone and explore new interests. Cooperative Gallery 213 is currently featuring pieces from a local artist who formed an artists’ circle during quarantine to challenge her artistic limits.
Down on 213 State St., Cooperative Gallery 213 is hosting several exhibits, one of those being the “Inspired” exhibition, which runs from Sept. 4 to Sept. 26, every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The concept for the exhibition was that a person would receive a piece of art from someone else and then they would have a week to make a new piece of art inspired by that piece. The circle revolved around 10 artists over a 10-week period in quarantine.
Local artist and co-founder of Cooperative Gallery 213, Maryrose Smyth, ‘99, known professionally as MaryRose, created 17 pieces for the exhibition, which are located on the back wall of the gallery. MaryRose emphasized how this activity really helped the gallery members during this unorthodox time.
“Most of the gallery members are retired and it really isolated them at home and/or in their studios,” MaryRose said. “The circle helped keep some of the artists in touch with each other, which helped lessen the isolation that a lot of us felt during the COVID-19 quarantine.”
When asked about her creative output during the quarantine, MaryRose said the activity kept her very busy.
“I had to complete a piece of artwork every week,” she said. “That’s a lot more productive than I have been in years.”
She was also proud of how varied her work was for the exhibition because of the diversity of pieces she received in the circle. The whole activity had gone well, resulting in a second circle. This time, it involved 14 artists over the course of two seven-week sessions. The 100 pieces in the windows of the gallery are from some of the people in this group.
MaryRose, her wife, Judy Salton, and their granddaughter, Karissa Salton, composed all of the exhibitions featured at Cooperative Gallery 213. While MaryRose worked on the “Inspired” exhibition, Judy made the “Games Politicians Play” exhibition, a political satire, and Karissa made “The Celestial Bodies” series, which shows women as celestial beings in space.
“What I’m most proud of this [exhibition] is not just mine, it’s the fact that the three artists [are] showing that we’re family,” MaryRose said.