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New virtual FCAI art exhibit showcases “Maskerpieces”

A new virtual Freeborn County Arts Initiative exhibit finds entertainment and artistic expression in one of the most commonly talked about symbols of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Titled “Maskerpieces,” the exhibit features artistically altered masterpieces and fanciful masks, both wearable and decorative.

Arts Initiative board member Susanne Crane said the organization has changed its exhibit schedule somewhat because of the pandemic, previously incorporating a COVID show of work artists had made during the pandemic. In addition to that, however, the board wanted to do something else to incorporate things happening at this time in the world.

Crane said masks have become a commonly discussed topic — particularly whether to wear them — and the initiative decided to take that further in the new exhibit.

“Maskerpieces,” a word the Arts Initiative created for the show, refers to “a work of outstanding artistry, skill or workmanship (quite often tongue-in-cheek) created during quarantine for the enjoyment of the public.” the organization’s website states.

For the show, some artists made masks, others created images through graphic design and others took famous paintings and modified them or re-illustrated them with the theme in mind.

Work includes everything from a quarantine mask decorated with peacock feathers and beads to sculpture and playful interpretations of the famous paintings “The Scream,” by Edvard Munch, and “The Son of Man” by Rene Magritte, among others.

“There’s so many ways to take it, we thought it would be an interesting show,” Crane said.

Seven artists are showcased from both inside and outside of the community.

Crane said the show runs through the end of February and can be found at www.fcai.us.

She said the Arts Initiative is planning to having an in-person show in the gallery again in the spring.

As more people are getting vaccinated, she said she hopes the Arts Initiative galleries can be a place for people to visit, especially when the weather gets warmer.

The exhibit in March and April is expected to center around trees, Crane will have a solo exhibition in May and June, and Northfield fiber artist Kathy Weed will showcase her work in July and August.

People who would like to view previous virtual shows can continue to do so through the website.