We shared images of isolation, safety, worry, longing, and hope.December 21, 2020
“It was May, three months into the pandemic: we were in lockdown, staying home nearly all the time. From different spots in Sullivan County, we shared images of isolation, safety, worry, longing, and hope.”
This week, we can finally begin to imagine the end of this pandemic. With so much time now passed, it’s hard to remember how we felt in the second half of March when we got our first taste of social distancing. It was strange and uncertain territory. Lives were upended. Many were fearful. Food pantry lines were growing rapidly.
In the midst of this—and despite the fact that they were also affected by school closures, health scares, and other new realities—HPAC staff were putting in long hours to design arts programs that could provide relief, inspiration, and connection for our neighbors.
We knew that listening to our neighbors was the first step, so in early April we released a Community Arts Survey. Thanks to you, we got a tremendous response that helped guide the remainder of our 2020 season. Among our top requests were arts workshops, something to offer participants a chance for reflection and creative outlet.
In May, working with artist, educator, and Hurleyville resident Alyce Barr, we released Here at Home, a three-part photography workshop that blends visual art and social engagement.
“Tucked into my childhood home in Hurleyville, where I hadn’t lived since I was 16, this project gave me the chance to consider my relationship to place, a running theme in my art. With the other Here at Home participants, I asked myself questions about my ties to Sullivan County, and how being here affected my experience of the pandemic.”
For Alyce and the workshop participants, Here at Home was “an opportunity for slow and methodical consideration.” She adds, “sharing images and talking with participants via Zoom reinforced a sense of connection and separation.”
Participation and community are core to our mission at HPAC. We want our programs to serve YOU, our beloved neighbors and friends. That’s why, now and in the years to come, we will be expanding our educational programs and workshops. Innovative artists will teach their crafts to intergenerational groups in intimate settings. Neighbors from all walks of life will connect through creative expression.
Our workshops will continue to expand arts appreciation in our region. They will leverage the power of the arts to create a vibrant, kinder, and more compassionate community in the Catskills and beyond.
If you believe this is an important vision for the arts in our region, please consider supporting HPAC with a year-end gift. We can’t thank you enough.
Header Image Caption: Kathleen Johansen, Community (2020). Produced during Here at Home, a photography workshop series lead by Alyce Barr and presented by the Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre