While the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily stopped activities people enjoy, it has not stopped their creativity.
The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute in Moscow wanted to celebrate that creativity by inviting people to share the artwork they made during the pandemic.
More than 50 artists shared their work during Saturday’s COVID Art Fair held at the nature center.
“We’re trying to stimulate some creative expression around the hard times of the COVID situation,” said PCEI board member Brooke Lowry.
The artwork included paintings and 3-D creations as well as decorative face masks that were auctioned off.
Janice Ardern, Moscow resident, submitted paintings she made depicting doctors caring for a young patient.
After painting on and off for 55 years, Ardern now has devoted her time to making paintings for others. With COVID-19 limiting her social life, Ardern now spends even more time creating art.
“I’m painting all the time,” she said.
Misha Cleveland, director for the Palouse Roots Outdoor School, donated eight of her own homemade face masks to the COVID Art Fair auction.
She started making face masks for her 10 Palouse Roots students at the Palouse Roots Outdoor School and found a design that is intended to make masks more comfortable for the children while they attend two days a week.
For example, the masks are designed so they do not touch the person’s lips. They also have rounded adjustable elastic and a lanyard that can hang comfortably over the neck.
“If we’re going to have school, I knew everyone would need to be protected and wear them all day,” she said.
Lowry said the event also served as a fundraiser for PCEI and to spread awareness about the nature center.
“What we’re also is just inviting people to this open space,” she said. “PCEI is a 26-acre open space that’s open to the public and a lot of people don’t know about it. So these events are a way to encourage people to use this space and to know about it.”
While the pandemic has disrupted PCEI’s regular programs, it has served as a destination for those who want to get outside and walk its trails, she said.
“In some ways PCEI is being used more by people because they are wanting to get outside and this is such a beautiful open space,” Lowry said.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.