An evolved community will celebrate its artists. Art has the capacity to bring about change and healing through shared experiences and ideas. The community can be challenged and encouraged to look beyond the individual. It brings a sense of empowerment and belonging which can spark a reaction. This, in turn, generates a response leading to community growth whether it is emotional, spiritual, ecological, or political.
Trying to acclimate during this shutdown is proving difficult. Not knowing when museums, art organizations, and gallery doors will be reopening in the near future is having an impact on artists across the board. Many upcoming gallery openings, art events, and art classes have been canceled or postponed to an unknown date. I’m involved in a local Plein Air group and while it is an outdoor event, we aren’t able to continue this because State and County parks are closed. While that may sound trivial in a time of economic and social turmoil, not being able to be connected within the art community is taking a toll. While most artists, including myself, enjoy their solitude, we still need a social framework within our own community to thrive, to be inspired and challenged, and to create. Since the shutdown I have taken up morning writing, going for long walks and spending more time in my garden. This enables me to clear my head and encourages me to feel hopeful. My work is always evolving, and I don’t stick to one thing, so these small changes are making their way into my work. For one, the size of my work has changed considerably as I am working on a much smaller scale — mainly ink or acrylic on paper. I feel this currently resonates with the larger scheme of things. The pandemic feels very overwhelming, so working smaller is more of a soothing place for me. It’s where I need to be now. My process has always been much more important than the product.
While many people are feeling fearful and anxious, disconnected, and isolated, these times of inaccessibility to the greater community can spark a wealth of creativity. It is encouraging and motivating to see members of my community rally together and develop various ways to share their optimism. I am pleased to see so many fellow artists and artists organizations posting new work and holding virtual art events for a cause, virtual art shows, interactive art activities, and interviews online. Lately, I have been sending handmade postcards to friends and family. I believe this small act can encourage and inspire others to look beyond their own isolation and feel connected or turn their own fears and frustrations of the unknown into new ideas and inspiration. You don’t have to be an artist to make this happen. Paint, write, take photographs, play an instrument, bake, sing, weave, garden — all of these can be a coping mechanism for the maker and the viewer during these uncertain times.
Andrea Sauchelli was born in Columbus, Ohio, and has received a BFA at The College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. Being a firm believer in healing through art, Sauchelli’s work is in many permanent collections throughout Southern New Jersey as part of AtlantiCare’s Healing Arts Program. Andrea Sauchelli is a Signature Artist at The Noyes Museum of Art and a Signature Artist of STROBE, ArtC’s South Jersey Artists Collective. Andrea Sauchelli is a member and an instructor at the Pine Shores Art Association, and she is represented by Solace Studio and Gallery in Surf City, NJ. Sauchelli has a strong affinity to the environment and her abstract often large-scale work evokes the energy of the ever-changing landscape. Her paintings do not reference a specific location but in fact, give the viewer a sense of our environmental space and the awareness of time. Sauchelli’s love and respect of nature, its growth and decay, and its ability to promote healing is the focus in her works, which range from painting to mixed media, collage, and photography.