A few weeks ago, Daura Gallery director Dr. Barbara Rothermel and coordinator Laura Cole sent out a campuswide email soliciting works of art for a virtual exhibition. They weren’t looking for professional artists, though. What they envisioned was a show that would highlight “quarantine art” by the children and grandchildren of faculty and staff.
“The gallery staff is actively focused on ways in which we can all cope with COVID-19, foster children’s creativity, and keep all our audiences engaged in this time of quarantine,” Rothermel said.
The result — “INSPIRED! Creativity During Quarantine” — is now on display online. Visitors to the exhibit’s website can catch a glimpse of how the young artists, all of them between the ages of 2 and 19, have spent the past eight weeks of homeschooling and nonstop family time. They’ll find drawings and paintings inspired by various styles and genres, along with interpretations by Daura staff.
One of them is “Mommy Dearest,” a sharpie-on-computer-paper portrait of Courtney Kelsey, assistant director of residential learning communities, by her 5-year-old daughter, Sydney.
“The work of up-and-coming artist Sydney Kelsey harkens back to the enduring influence of the Spanish master Pablo Picasso,” its description reads. “Sydney reportedly thinks her Mommy’s roots are showing and her eyebrows need some work, as did Picasso’s model, Jacqueline Roque.”
There’s also the Leonardo da Vinci-inspired “Butterfly Handprint” by 2 ½-year-old Zoey Meisner, 6-year-old Erik Lee’s Fauvist-inspired “Easter” collage, and “Rainbow Master” by 9-year-old Davis Moore.
“We’re trying to bring our collection to the community, since they can’t currently come to us,” Cole said.
What was once “Mindfulness at the Museum” is now Mindfulness at the #MuseumFromHome. Every Friday, the gallery focuses on one work and offers tips for meditation or mindfulness.
“We’re also sharing Museum Musings with Murphy — my one-year-old golden retriever — each day in our stories, and Masterpiece Mondays feature his thoughts on famous works from museums around the world,” Cole said. “We’re inviting followers to send us their pets’ thoughts on artwork, as well.”
They’ve also started an “object of the week” series, which gives followers an opportunity to vote for their favorite piece, and they’ve asked people to send in artwork for the Daura to share.
In addition to bringing art to their audience, Rothermel and Cole are trying to spread the love around other Lynchburg accounts. A Saturday “I Spy” scavenger hunt Instagram story challenges participants to find five things posted on various Lynchburg accounts throughout the week.
“While we’re apart from campus, we’re encouraging followers on Instagram to stay connected,” Cole said.