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The Center for Western Studies is honored to present Pandemic: The Art of Survival, a gallery exhibition featuring artwork created during a year like no other. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down. Facing deaths, hospitalizations, and a shattered economy, it has been difficult to find any light in such dark times.

Artists across our region saw opportunities disappear as museums went dark, exhibitions were postponed, art shows were canceled, and patrons weary of the economic downturn delayed purchases. But even in the darkest of times, art always finds a way to survive. Whether it was learning a new technique, teaching a workshop, or just starting a project that had been put off due to lack of time, artists found ways to continue their work of making the world better.

All of the artwork in this exhibition was created between March 2020 and March 2021. We asked artists to show us what they worked on when the world fell silent and still, and they astounded us over and over again.

Some artists explored the crisis head on, such as using PPE equipment as muse and material when expounding the preciousness of the N95 mask by enveloping it in gold, or documenting the normally lively main street of Deadwood, SD, dead-still as gambling halls lay dormant. Other Artists spent the year seeing their surroundings in a different light, producing work that highlights the world in a way we haven’t taken the time to observe before we had all the time in the world.

Though the pandemic is not over, we want to take the time to honor those who have weathered uncertainty and division yet continued to create. We want to shine a light on our artist community for their diligence and tenacity to make sure art always survives.

Artists participating in the Exhibit:
Paul H. Boerboom
Bonnie Brahms
Glen Bruns
C May Cernetisch
Judy DeBoer
Judith Edenstrom
Rodger Ellingson
Jerry Fogg
Deb Gengler-Copple
Connie Gisi
Mary Groth
Eileen Halverson
Mick Harrison
Ray Kelly
Duane Kjelden
Brad Kringen
Carolyne D. Landon
Cheryl Longseth
John V. Nelson
John Olson
Aaron C. Packard
Paul Peterson
Jason Pfitzer
Joan Putman
Stephen Randall
Jessie Rasche
Cristen J. Roghair
Robert Semrad
Tom Shields
Barbara Sparks
Jennifer Stone
Doris Symens-Armstrong
Judy Thompson
Kat Thompson
Lindsay Twa
Jodi Vittitoe
James Wakeman

Pandemic: The Art of Survival opens March 1, 2021, and runs through May 28, 2021. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Viewing hours are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibition is located in the Madsen/Nelson Galleries of the Center’s Fantle Building at 2121 South Summit Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD. Closed Saturday & Sundays and April 2 & 5.

We ask that you observe all posted public health and safety policies during your visit.