The View From Here: An Artist’s Perspective on COVID-19

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Dear Artists,

We hope you are all staying safe and well!

It would be an understatement to say that we are in the midst of a uniquely challenging time.  We are all having to find new ways to stay connected to those we hold dear and to our community, to show our appreciation for those we may have, in past, taken for granted and to find moments of peace. 

Typically in early May the staff at McDougall Cottage would be putting out a “Call for Artists” and excitedly looking forward to hosting our annual Paint the Grand event. Unfortunately, until the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end, we are unable to host this in-person event.

That said, this is a time where we have a unique opportunity to reflect, to create, and arguably, to fulfill our responsibility to document this collective experience for future generations.

To that end, the Region of Waterloo Museums, Region of Waterloo Archives, and Region of Waterloo Libraries are looking for the public’s help in recording accounts of everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic for future generations with the Help us make history project.

Many of these accounts will likely come in the form of written journals, but we would be remiss if we didn’t also take this opportunity to invite artists in our community to document this time using their unique talents and perspectives.

Therefore, this year, we are making a few changes to our Paint the Grand Exhibit and Silent Auction.  This year Paint the Grand will take the form of an online exhibit entitled, The View From Here: An Artist’s Perspective on COVID-19.  There will not be a silent auction component this time around.

In much the same way Jack Baird documented his life and travels in the murals and friezes he painted on the walls and ceilings of McDougall Cottage, we are inviting all artists in the Region of Waterloo to document this “history in the making” in a visual medium.

Paint, draw, dance, photograph, create an illustrated journal – the medium, format and perspective are up to you - your “view” can be a literal or a figurative one - so do whatever brings you comfort at this time!

Submissions will be accepted for the duration of the pandemic.  Artists are encouraged to submit multiple pieces that reflect how their view has changed over time.

Guidelines for submission:

  • Note that all artwork submitted could be posted on the McDougall Cottage Historic Site website and social media feeds, with the name of the person who submitted the artwork, along with the description provided for the artwork.
  • Digital images of finished pieces, along with a title, description of the medium used (if appropriate) and brief explanation of what the piece depicts and what inspired you to create it, can be submitted to McDougall@regionofwaterloo.ca. Please put 'The View from Here' in the subject line of the email.
  • Video submissions are accepted and can be submitted to McDougall@regionofwaterloo.ca. (note if the files are too large to email you can submit via a file transfer service like High Tail). Please put 'The View from Here' in the subject line of the email.

Until we meet again, please take all the recommended precautions to stay safe and well.

Sometimes in the waves of change, we find our new direction – unknown