Art chair in Sears Art Museum COVID-19 Popups Exhibition

The Creative Pivot: Sears Art Museum

Most exhibitions at St. George’s Sears Art Museum are months in the planning, with artworks that are meticulously hung and arranged.

But instead immediacy was the inspiration for “COVID-19 Pops-Up in Art,” an exhibition in the Dixie State University museum’s foyer, says Kathy Cieslewicz, museum curator. Anchoring the show were artist Stewart Seidman’s series of eight large acrylic paintings about the death of his sister from the virus. “Very poignant,” she says. “It is an immediate, first-person artist response to right now, not looking back on it.”

"Tearful Memories" painting by Stewart Seidman
“Tearful Memories” acrylic on canvas painting, by Stewart Seidman, at Dixie State University’s Sears Art Museum

To accompany those searing paintings, she invited local artists to create 12-by-12-inch works about the coronavirus. Artists became part of the exhibit as they were invited to come to the museum separately to hang their own work. Poems by local writers accompany the artworks. The curator also created an installation from vintage chairs arranged in taped-off squares, with signs like “Wash your hands,” and “Closed economy: We’re in it together.”

“I had to shift gears immediately and make all of this work really fast,” Cieslewicz says. “I wanted artists’ reactions to what was going on in their lives during COVIS-19. That’s what we got.”

— Ellen Fagg Weist

VISIT: Sears Art Museum

FIRST CHAPTER: The Creative Pivot