Billings museum calling for all Montana artists to contribute to online COVID-19 exhibit

Online submission deadline is April 20
Posted at 5:30 PM, Apr 11, 2020

BILLINGS — In Billings, the Western Heritage Center is calling for Montana artists of all ages working with all mediums to submit work to be featured in an online exhibit titled, Art in Isolation: Response to COVID-19.

"The online exhibit … is specifically about peoples creative responses to the current crisis," said Lauren Hunley, community historian with the Western Heritage Center.

Artwork must be original and submitted online by April 20 to be considered. Artists must be Montana residents and their work must be created in response to COVID-19. To fill out the online
submission form, click here.

The free-to-view, all-online exhibit is scheduled to be live on the Heritage Center's website by April 24, Hunley said.

All kinds of art will be considered for inclusion in the exhibit: paintings, drawings, photography, music, dances and sewn works among others.

“We’re not limiting artists by age. We are not limiting artists by medium. If you have created a dance, send us a video. If you've written a song. If you have poetry. I don't know, if you've cross stitched a pillow. If it's a response to COVID-19, and you live in Montana, you fit the requirements. You fit the perimeters of the exhibit," Hunley said.

Artwork that can't be submitted digitally like quilted works or dances should be photographed or videotaped to be submitted for consideration. Hunley asked that video files be less than five minutes.

"And you have to send us the original video file. We won't be accepting Youtube or Vimeo links. It's one of the ways that we're sure it's an original creation. One of the ways we're sure we're sure we're not dealing with any copyright issues."

Photographed art like paintings or drawings should only include the work, not the artist.

"If you created a visual piece ... a quilt or whatever it is. We're asking for you to take a high resolution photograph of it, just of the artwork. We don't need the artist in the image," Hunley said.

Hunley said Heritage Center's goal with the exhibit is to be a place where Montana artists can share their feelings artistically and spark conversation in the community.

"You know, is it humorous? Do you need some laughter? Do you need a place for anger? Do you need a place to vent? Or maybe you just needed to add a little color to your life. This exhibit is meant to be a space where you can share that with your community," Hunley said.

Even if a person doesn't necessarily consider themselves an artist, Hunley said everyone has the capability.

"When we talk about community artists, we’re talking about anybody and everybody. We’re very cognizant that we could have artists that are going to be four-years-old in the same exhibit as a person whose 94-years-old. And we’re excited about that. Because we want this exhibit to showcase a cross section of who we are, what we’re doing, how we’re processing this and even expressing hopes and expectations for coming out the other side.”