Reece Museum, Martin School of the Arts seek local artwork for new special collection

Published 1:51 pm Friday, May 15, 2020

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JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University’s Reece Museum, Mary B. Martin School of the Arts and community supporters are building a special collection that will be housed in the Reece Museum’s Permanent Collection titled “Local Art in the Age of the 2020 Global Pandemic.”
 The purpose of the joint initiative is to purchase artwork created in 2019 or 2020 from artists who live and/or work in Johnson City or Washington County.
 The Reece Museum is a unit of the Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services, which is part of the Department of Appalachian Studies at ETSU. Dr. Ron Roach, department chair and center director, said, “Our local artists play a vital role in enriching our community and telling our stories.  We are very pleased to be able to support this project, which will be a great addition to the museum collection.”
 “The idea for the initiative began when Reece Museum staff discussed how to capture a sense of our collective experiences during the 2020 novel coronavirus pandemic,” said Randy Sanders, director of the Reece Museum. “We began thinking about building a special art collection comprised of recent artwork purchased from local artists that reflect an emotive snapshot of the times of COVID-19.”
 To build the new collection, $2,000 from the Reece Museum Foundation account was committed to establish a restricted fund agreement administered by the East Tennessee State University Foundation. When Anita DeAngelis, director of the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, heard about the initiative, she committed an additional $2,000 toward the initiative.
 “We’re living through such unusual circumstances,” DeAngelis said, “Artists have a propensity to respond to occurrences such as the pandemic in meaningful ways that will likely bring new insights to us. This new collection of work will become a valuable resource in the future.”
 A jurying committee comprised of a representative from the Martin School of the Arts, one from the Reece Museum, and at least two from the Johnson City/Washington County arts community will select the artwork. Artists must be at least 18 years of age and live and/or work in Johnson City or Washington County, Tennessee. There is no entry fee to participate, and each artist may submit only one entry. The deadline for submissions is June 19.
 All artists whose work is selected will receive an equal dollar amount of at least $200 based on the number of artists juried into the “Local Art in the Age of the 2020 Global Pandemic” special collection.
 “This (initiative) is a unique way in which the Reece Museum can preserve the artistic feeling during this historical moment,” said Michael C. Webb, director of development for the College of Arts and Sciences at ETSU. “This collection will stand as our collective memory of these trying times we are living through. Our hope is that the greater community will help support this fund so that the Reece Museum may harness our community’s artistic response to this global pandemic.”
 To obtain guidelines for submission or artwork, to make a financial gift to support this effort, or for more information, visit the Reece Museum website at

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