People are worried, lonely, bored and frustrated as the pandemic isolation drags on and they are stuck in their homes. So artist and curator Janie Perry Gonzales, founder of Vida Art Connections, decided it was a good time to have a virtual art show. Five of the artists, including Gonzales, are UNM alumni and several range between high school age and 5 years old.
Gonzales explained that Vida Art Connections (VAC) is the name she has used since 2004 to curate art exhibitions. VAC shows have been held around Albuquerque in many locations, including the Albuquerque Garden Center and the Rio Grande Estates Garden.
“My mission has always been putting art into unexpected places for the mutual benefit of all involved," she said. “This show, ‘...And Then They Made Art,’ is an artist's response to the coronavirus quarantine. Because of the nature of the present situation, this art exhibition needed to have a very creative location.”
Keeping in mind that pandemic isolating measures meant groups of people could not get together in a space such as a gallery, Gonzales turned to social media. For those who don’t use those social networks, Gonzales plans to send out emails.
“The show will be presented without the use of video cameras as an adventure using our minds and imaginations and the amazing connective power of the Internet. I don't know of any other art exhibition that has used this approach, so in this time of crisis, we hope to use this creative project to deliver on our mission,” Gonzales said.
As has been the case with all VAC’s other exhibitions, '...And Then They Made Art' will also be a community-based project. One of Gonzales’ personal goals is to help promote her hometown of Albuquerque as a leading art center. She explained she wants this show to be “uplifting, faith-based, entertaining, educational and inspirational.”
Some of the work will be available for sale as originals, giclees or prints. A 10 percent portion of any resulting sales will be donated by VAC to local charities to help the needy. Participating artists will pay no commission and will receive the full remaining 90 percent of the proceeds.
The 12 artists in the show include four UNM College of Fine Arts graduates who have all been in several Vida Art Connection exhibitions in the past. They are:
- Kenneth Tyger, a nationally-accomplished Albuquerque area artist, University of New Mexico, B.F.A., with a minor in Art Education and part of a Tamarind Institute art collaboration
- Sydney Johnson: The late Johnson graduated from UNM with a master’s degree
- Tanya Perry, a UNM graduate
- Tara Zelewski, who has taught art at the university level, including as a graduate-student fine arts teacher at UNM. She presently teaches in Pennsylvania
Also in the show are:
- Estevan Gonzales (aka, Goatboi) a nationally-known Albuquerque- area glass blower
- Edward Alex Velez, who now lives in Puerto Rico, and Atrisco Heritage High School junior Lylah Perry, both APS Metro Youth Art award-winning artists
Talented young artists in the show, Cyrus Moore, age 11, Rylee Knight, age 12, Juliano Zambrano, age 12; and the youngest artist, Andres Gonzales, age 5.
Gonzales graduated from UNM in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and a concentration in studio arts. She plans to return to UNM as a graduate student this fall or next year to study creative writing and to continue her studies in art.