Shannon Percoco, Take Up Space, 2020. Acrylic on canvas.
Shannon Percoco, Take Up Space, 2020. Acrylic on canvas.

Pandemics as a Portal to Change

By Julia Kelly

KAM and other campus and community partners collaborated on a call for art in February for an exhibition titled Pandemics as a Portal to Change:

Take any one of our current struggles and imagine how we might make a deep change, and come out on the other side, to reimagine our world, making progress toward change for any one of the multiple pandemics. Artists have the creativity and imagination necessary to visualize worlds without violence, threats, racism and other ’isms, worlds where peace, justice, and unity thrive. 

We sought visual art, creative writing, original music, video, audio, and performance, focused on hopeful approaches that creatively imagine what the future can look like. It was open to creators on campus and throughout Champaign County.

Launched in early May, the exhibition included 79 works of art submitted by 52 artists – middle schoolers through seniors – across a range of topics from mental health to the environment, racial justice, COVID-19, and community-building. A wide range of media (including incredible music submissions and an entire dancing family) and community engagement revealed the astounding array of creative work taking place locally.

Many artists approached difficult topics with vulnerability. Others used humor and fantasy to reveal their present struggles and point a way toward a mutual future that is just and peaceful for our community.

Shannon Percoco, Take Up Space, 2020. Acrylic on canvas.
Shannon Percoco, Take Up Space, 2020. Acrylic on canvas.
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