Virtually distanced art

-Submitted photo
Eric Anderson, director of the Blanden Memorial Art Museum, poses with the new virtual exhibit “Art as Medicine; Artists React to Current State” open on the computer behind him.

While the Blanden Memorial Art Museum is closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not only is the staff continuing to work behind the scenes, but artists are continuing to work.

A new online exhibit, “Art as Medicine; Artists react to the current state.” is available to showcase that work.

Eric Anderson, director of Blanden, even has one of his own photographs in the exhibit.

It’s an image of a found situation his children created when they dropped several toy figures into a partially eaten bowl of cereal.

“They created that,” Anderson said. “I just found it and took a picture of it. You become the artist because you recognize something interesting about it. Considering the current situation, it’s poignant.”

“They were not social distancing,” he said of the figures. “It’s Fruity Pebbles.”

The exhibit is open to works in any medium. Current works include film photographs, paintings and Anderson’s digital photograph.

“It’s open to any medium you can take a picture of,” he said.

One artist is even working on a quilt.

Anderson said the exhibit is an opportunity for artists to create works in reaction to the current situation.

“It’s about providing an arena for artists to communicate their frustrations, fears and optimism,” he said. “For many artists, this is a time to ask themselves is my work relevant? We hope people create something that speaks to that. The present state of the world seems overwhelming and chaotic, but out of these times, great love and beauty can still be expressed.”

Anderson would like to see more work in the exhibit. He’s reached out to several college art departments and artists in Kosovo.

“We’re providing an opportunity for artists to communicate in the midst of uncharted water,” he said. “We have an exhibit of prints from the permanent collection that probably nobody will see.”

Anderson wants the community to know that the Blanden is still very much an active member of the Fort Dodge community. The staff, including Art Educator Hope Thier, is working on ways to reach the community via various social media platforms.

“The online exhibit is one part of the Blanden trying to continue to provide access and connect to the community,” he said.

The closure to the public has also allowed staff to work on several projects that are difficult to get done when the museum is open. Stripping and waxing floors, some deep cleanings and paint projects are all on tap.

Entries for the exhibit must be submitted by May 2. The exhibit will run through at least Aug. 29. There is no entrance fee and artists must be 18 or over.

For complete entry guides see www.blanden.org.

Art packet pickup at Blanden

The Blanden Memorial Art Museum, 920 Third Ave. S. will offer art packets for kids. They can be picked up between 2 to 3 p.m. today at the Blanden. People should drive westbound on Third Avenue South from 10th Street in front of the museum. The art educator will be wearing a painting respirator and gloves to distribute art packets through the passenger side window.

Individuals will stay in their cars in a drive-thru manner, will need to roll down their passenger window, and will be asked how many art packets needed when they get to the pickup spot.

The packets are available on a first-come, first-served basis until they run out. They are also available to print at home from the Blanden’s website at https://www.blanden.org/online-educational-resources.


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