Middletown Arts Center partners with local schools on virtual exhibits

The Middletown Arts Center has partnered with local high schools to host a series of virtual exhibitions, “Apart But Together: Art During a Pandemic.” The four-part series will feature a collection of nearly 200 pieces of art from 9th-12th grade students, beginning on Friday.

The exhibition is a collaborative partnership between Middletown Arts Center and several local high schools, including Lakota East High School, Lakota West High School, Monroe Senior High School and Middletown High School.

Conceived and curated by Lakota East art teacher Emily Edwards, the virtual display will feature artwork inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. This project has allowed high school students to express themselves and come together as an arts community.

“Our students are living through history right now. I wanted a place where they could document this experience for themselves but leave it open enough that they could use their own interpretations of how to record their time right now,” Edwards said.

The student artwork incorporates personal stories that demonstrate their own responses to the pandemic. With this collection, the students capture emotions, images they saw, their state of mind, news events and reflections from this period of time, she said.

“These exhibits will serve as a reminder of how COVID-19 impacted our daily lives, documenting this unique moment in history,” Edwards said.

The exhibit features artwork from 192 students. The "Apart But Together: Art During a Pandemic" exhibition is a four-part series. Each part of the series will be released on Fridays in June on the art center's website at www.middletownartscenter.com as well as on the center's social media platforms and YouTube page. There will be about 50 works with each of the participating schools represented in each segment of the video series. The student exhibition will remain online for viewing through Aug. 31.

“This is the first time that we’ve partnered with multiple schools on a virtual exhibition,” said Kate Dykes, executive director, Middletown Arts Center. “The work is fantastic, and what the students have to say is important.”

The virtual exhibition features a variety of mediums including paintings, drawings, mixed media and photography. Art teachers at each of the high schools encouraged students to enter work in the exhibition. The students worked from home with their own art materials.

“This collection is poignant because teens are in that transitional period of life, and they have such a different and fresh perspective of situations. Many of the artists in this collection were deeply impacted as they are seniors missing out on traditional rites of passage, or perhaps, they are 9th graders concerned for their families and what shape their high school experience may take in the fall. This exhibition amplifies their important voices in our high school community, and this generation will go on to form our future after COVID-19,” Dykes said.


In addition to premiering the virtual exhibition in June, Dykes also announced that Middletown Arts Center will reopen on Monday, June 15.

“With safety being paramount, the MAC has implemented new Facility Guidelines with COVID-19 safety precaution protocols and has taken the Butler County Safety Pledge,” she said.

Please visit MAC's website for up-to-date information on COVID-19 precautions at: https://www.middletownartscenter.com/covid-19updates.

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