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This Gainesville artist, inspired by the coronavirus pandemic, channeled hope into her Quinlan exhibit
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Artist Jill Haack of Gainesville is holding a pandemic-inspired exhibit titled "All that Glitters is Hope" at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center from Aug. 13 to Oct. 5, 2020. - photo by Scott Rogers

Jill Haack of Gainesville said she remembers the day when President Donald Trump declared the pandemic a national emergency. 

Haack said she was listening to the radio in early March, trying to anticipate the world’s future. 

As a professional artist, she channeled her emotions into something that comes naturally to her — painting.  

'All that Glitters is Hope' 

What: Free art show from Jill Haack inspired by the pandemic 

When: Thursday, Aug. 13 through Monday, Oct. 5 

Where: Quinlan Visual Arts Center, 514 Green St., Gainesville 

Quinlan hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday 

More info: 770-536-2575 

“I was like, ‘I’ve got to do something to chronicle my time in this,” Haack said.  

One by one, the pieces flowed out of Haack at her home studio in Gainesville until she found herself surrounded by a sizeable collection. Instead of homing in on the painful aspects of the pandemic while filling blank canvases, the artist said she tried to “focus on the good things.” 

Haack said birds have always brought her happiness, so she let them take flight in most of her work. The other paintings include nature-themed scenes like “Little Bells,” which displays a lily of the valley and “Social Distancing,” which shows the image of a woman soaking up the outdoors. 

“There’s so much bad in the world,” Haack said. “A passion of mine is getting people to take time to stop and look at the beautiful things around you.” 

Haack’s collection of 20 pieces titled, “All that Glitters is Hope,” will be on display at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center from Thursday, Aug. 13, to Monday, Oct. 5, as a part of the nonprofit’s fall exhibition. The gallery is near the front entrance of the building, located at 514 Green St. in Gainesville.  

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Detail of Jill Haack's painting "As We Begin to Gather..." at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center. Haack is holding a pandemic-inspired exhibit titled "All that Glitters is Hope" at the Quinlan from Aug. 13 to Oct. 5. - photo by Scott Rogers

During the beginning of the pandemic, Haack said her favorite art stores were closed, so she was forced to become resourceful and use materials in her studio. Her pieces encompass a range of media including watercolors, oils, acrylic and glitter. At one point, Haack said she ran out of large canvases, so she took six smaller ones and attached them together. 

The color gold can be found in each of the paintings. Haack said she incorporated the vibrant metallic color to spark hope in people.  

“I just want them to look at them and feel good,” Haack said. “I want them to escape.” 

The first piece she created for the show, “United We Stand,” displays an oil painting of a bald eagle perched on a branch with the moon glowing in the background.  

Haack said the swirling colors of the image’s night sky resemble the chaos and uncertainty in the world. Upon closer inspection, 50 stars can be found scattered around the moon, which Haack says pays homage to the U.S.  

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Detail of artist Jill Haack's oil pieces "Here comes the SUN...," left, and "Sun and Moon" on display at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center in Gainesville. Haack is holding a pandemic-inspired exhibit titled "All that Glitters is Hope" at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center from Aug. 13 to Oct. 5. - photo by Scott Rogers

Unlike the other 19 pieces in the collection, she said this one encapsulates an ominous tone. Haack said during the beginning of her pandemic art journey, a bit of her anxiety seeped into the painting. As she progressed through the other works, the art began to take on a more positive mood with brightly colored birds, some of which are illuminated with glitter.  

“You can’t look at a painting made with glitter and not laugh or smile,” Haack said.  

The last painting of the show includes three birds sitting on branches with a shiny gold backdrop. Haack said she intentionally left the piece incomplete and titled it, “As We Begin to Gather … Unfinished.” 

“It tells a story about us starting to get back out there,” she said. “Some of us are ready and some of us can’t. It’s like treading water out there.” 

For more information about the pandemic-inspired art show, “All that Glitters is Hope,” call the Quinlan at 770-536-2575. The art center’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.  

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