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This Gainesville pop-up gallery is showcasing ‘quarantine’ pieces
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Quinlan Visual Arts Center Executive Director Nairika Cornett views a new pop-up exhibit Wednesday, July 22, 2020, from the Georgia Art League. - photo by Scott Rogers

Amid the pandemic, local artists have channeled their emotions and free time into something beautiful. 

The Quinlan Visual Arts Center on Green St. in Gainesville is showcasing a pop-up exhibit of work from North Georgia artists who have spent the last couple of months letting their creativity run wild. The collection’s pieces show the talent of the Georgia Art League, which is headquartered at the Quinlan. 

“We’re back in the game again,” Nancy Rhodes, president of the Georgia Art League said. “We didn’t just lay down and let this time in our culture stifle us in our creative work. Artists have this energy. If they don’t let it out in artwork, it comes out in less positive ways.” 

Nairika Cornett, executive director of the Quinlan, said the pop-up art exhibit is free for public viewing until Tuesday, Aug. 11. Each piece on display is available for purchased. 

“There’s such a variety of talent and artistic styles,” Cornett said. “It’s right here. Gainesville is really good about supporting local art. This is a good option for people to come view art and purchase very affordable art.” 

Pop-up art exhibit 

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

When: Now until Tuesday, Aug. 11 

Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday  

Admission: Free 

More info: 770-536-2575 

The arts center requires guests to wear masks inside the building and asks visitors to practice social distancing. Hand sanitizer stations have also been set up in the gallery. 

When the pandemic hit Georgia in March, prompting a temporary closure of the Quinlan, Rhodes said many artists found themselves quarantined at home, including herself. For a month, she was furloughed from her full-time job as a hairdresser. Instead of wallowing, Rhodes said she took advantage of the time to create. 

One of her “quarantine” pieces on display in the pop-up exhibit involves a mixed-media work celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Using paint, hot wax and other materials, she transformed a blank canvas into a celebration of the momentous occasion. 

“Through this pandemic, we’ve had a lot of anniversaries of historical events like the 19th Amendment, that have been overlooked because of this virus and election,” Rhodes said. “I see the importance of our history, and right now we are in a battle for our history in all kinds of ways.” 

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The Quinlan Visual Arts Center is currently hosting a pop-up exhibit from the Georgia Art League. This piece, by Georgia Art League President Nancy Rhodes, celebrates on the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote in the U.S. - photo by Scott Rogers

Rhodes said the pop-up exhibit doesn’t encompass a theme, but instead features work from seven artists who have generated fresh pieces during the past couple of months. The space embraces different forms of art media as well as styles like contemporary, portrait, manipulated photography, impressionistic and representational art. 

Despite the grief and despair surrounding the pandemic, the exhibit’s walls are filled with dozens of pieces, each just as vibrant as the next. 

“It’s a bad time, but also really good things happen,” Rhodes said. “It gives creative people another platform to work with. It’s a time of renewal.” 

For more information about the Quinlan, visit quinlanartscenter.org. The center is also hosting its Summer Exhibition, which people can view until Saturday, Aug. 8. 

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