In light of the pandemic, the City of Sierra Vista Arts & Humanities Commission has taken a creative approach to encouraging community art.

The commission is hosting the “Submit your Art of 2020” exhibit, which will showcase 2D, 3D and performing arts at the botanical gardens behind the Sierra Vista Public Library. The commission is hoping to debut the exhibit in the spring.

Sierra Vista residents of all ages are invited to submit photos and videos of visual artwork (to include drawings, paintings, and sculptures) and performing arts (poetry, theater monologues, musical performances and dance) inspired by 2020. The works should be sent to ArtsandHumanitiesCom@sierravistaaz.gov by Jan. 31.

Former chair of the commission Rebecca Dailous said the only guidelines for the submissions is that the content needs to be “rated G and family friendly.”

Dailous also said that photo submissions of the visual art should be formatted in JPEGs or GIFS, and videos of performing arts should be uploaded to YouTube and the link submitted to the commission.

Dailous said the inspiration behind the event was that with more time spent at home due to the pandemic, many used the opportunity to create art.

“Beauty tends to rise from the ashes of adversity,” Dailous said. “We wanted to ask the community of Sierra Vista what they have created.”

Anastasia Dean, a former member of the commission, said, “This idea started as a discussion about how to engage the community in a creative way during the lockdown period. We all believe that art and literature — any creative endeavors, really — have historically reflected the struggles that our society has faced during crises. I think we recognized there weren’t enough opportunities or venues for sharing those expressions.”

Jodi Gaston, a member of the commission the past four years, said almost two dozen individuals have submitted artwork so far, totaling about 15 submissions.

Gaston said the presentations have included quilts, photography and acrylic and oil paintings.

“I would love to get some more art, but I would love to see someone submit a performance of dance, we haven’t received anything for performing art yet,” Gaston said.

Gaston and Dean said the exhibit is the first of its kind for the commission, which collaborated with the Sierra Vista Library and Leisure Services.

The Herald Review reached out to Sierra Vista Library and Leisure Services for comment, but it did not respond.

Dailous and Gaston were surprised to see that many of the pieces highlighted the beauty of various nature scenes.

“So far all the submissions we’ve received have been positive and nature-related,” Dailous said. “We expected to receive negative submissions, because you know, 2020 was so horrible. ... There’s an interesting correlation between nature and 2020 so far. We’ve received a lot of nature-based paintings and sculptures, because of quarantine, people have been going outside for walks more and to nature preserves more.”

Commission members hope the exhibit will inspire the community.

“(I hope) that this sparks that ‘creativity switch’ each of us has and that this leads to more people coming forth, making art! Performing art!,” Gaston said.

“Hopefully we can connect with local artists, musicians, writers and performers to further promote the arts in our community through public art displays and installations,” Dean.

“Our world has changed and we must find creative ways to embrace those changes.”

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