Mackenzie Casalino, Local Journalism Initiative
Art is needed now more than ever, according to Dermot Wilson.
And while art galleries and museums remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, artist Arlie Hoffman’s Respect: Work/Place exhibit is still open to the public.
Hoffman’s 21-piece collection is on display in a hallway in the Kennedy Building at 222 McIntyre St. W.
“You may come there not for the art. You may just come there to visit your dentist or your accountant and then the art affects you in a different way,” says Wilson.
“It’s not just the culture vultures . . . who see it. It’s everybody who comes in and we found that has been a wonderful breath of fresh air for people.”
Hoffman’s exhibit includes both oils and watercolours. His work is a part of a series called Respect: Work/Place that focuses on everyday life and workplace details that should be appreciated, says Wilson, executive director of the Nipissing Region Cultural Collective.
“You’re going to be reliving some very positive memories from your own life and you may end up actually purchasing a piece of art that will be with you for the rest of your life and no one else on the planet will have.”
Respect: Work/Place is also a part of a series of mobile galleries that travel around non-gallery spaces around North Bay.
The hallway gallery helps keep the non-typical gallery open for the public during COVID-19 while following social distancing protocols.
“The hallway gallery is different because it’s a flow-through space,” Wilson says.
“It’s one in which you come there to see the art, but you’re also moving from, say, one exit to another. You’re not congregating.”
It’s coincidental, he says, that the space is inside a building that remains open during COVID-19, making Hoffman’s exhibit one of the few art spaces still open to the public.
Wilson says seeing the gallery and space in person is a way to experience art during COVID-19. He says physically being in the space gives you another experience than just viewing them online.
“Culture is very important because culture is a changing thing,” says Wilson. “I think seeing what’s coming out of the COVID-19 experience is that we are up for a change; we know things have to change . . . I think art helps with that, especially because it allows us to think and change and innovate and imagine a better society in the future.”
The exhibit will remain open until the beginning of August.
A video walkthrough is available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0Mjz-ugs8o&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1veKI6IdDw6zBSxCnWFb5Lx-_lXVExwJKR2p0TdKVW52cshYLwbmCojyo
For more information on the exhibit, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/737472110328197/