Transformation 2020

Three Genesee Valley Central School District teachers combined for an art exhibition — “Transformation: Sense of Self + Purpose” — at the Wellsville Creative Arts Center.

BELMONT — Three teachers in the Genesee Valley Central School District are combining their creative talents in an exhibition at the Wellsville Creative Arts Center.

Shawna Deal, Kristin Buchholz and Rhiannon Babbitt — who have combined to teach for more than 40 years at Genesee Valley — will present their work in a show entitled “Transformation: Sense of Self + Purpose.”

The exhibit runs through March 13 and is comprised of paintings, handmade journals, collage, mixed media and embroidery, much of which was created over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

The disruption of the typical rhythms of life caused by the pandemic led the artists to gather, pause, reflect and create.

“We’ve gotten together a few times during the pandemic to make art,” Babbitt said. “We bring whatever we’re working on and make art together. Our art gives us a sense of self and purpose, especially this year with the lack of contact with people.”

Buchholz said when the three connect, they remind each other “that we’re human beings first. Being artists is strongly connected to that humanity. No matter what is going on in the world, art is fundamental to us.”

Deal said she is often inspired to “dig deeper” and use art to bring healing and balance into her life.

“We each use art to give ourselves a voice and to also process things that are happening in our immediate lives, or the world around us,” she said.

As the artists worked both together and individually throughout the year, some common themes emerged in their art.

“Many of our pieces indicated a search and discovery of self and purpose,” Deal said. “Each piece ties together with the idea of finding meaning and purpose, while dealing with themes like love, loss/grief, change, growth/transformation and finding balance within life.”

Buchholz said the pandemic has been an opportunity to “transform.”

“It has granted us the ability to slow down, to not get so hung up on testing and outcomes and to be present with the work of creating,” she said. “I hope we can let some of the spinning chaos go and focus on the good, talk about our work and celebrate and enjoy it.”

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. More information about the exhibit can be found online at the arts center website.

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