Pandemic art show

This is a “mock” display of the Great American Paint In exhibit that will open Saturday and will be seen in the window of the Tri-County Arts Council gallery.

OLEAN — Visitors to the Tri-County Arts Council gallery on Saturday may view the Great American Paint In display and video featured in the window, while at the same time enjoy the closing reception for the Ryann Cooley exhibit.

Mikel Wintermantel, executive co-director of the council, said the Paint In exhibit features the works of artists from across the country who were invited to depict their pandemic experience in the virtual, juried show founded by Allegany native Bill Weinaug.

Joining in the show is another individual from the region, Buffalo artist Raymond Bonilla, who was chosen to represent the project in the exhibition. Bonilla’s piece, “Lefferts and 95th Ave,” reflects the New York neighborhood he grew up in, something he went back to often in his mind during the pandemic.

The Paint In exhibit will feature the artists’ works via a digital slideshow on a high-definition television, as well a map and Bonilla’s physical work in the window of the Arts Council at 110 W. State St.

“It was amazing to me to see these works digitally and to read their stories,” Weinaug said. “To now see our project on gallery walls is mind-blowing and humbling. I believe people will look back on this collection for years to come as a peek at what living during this time was really like.”

Wintermantel, a well-known artist in the area, said Weinaug and his wife, Mary, are longtime friends of his and sponsors of the Arts Council. He said the Weinaugs own a riverside oasis, Wekiva Island, and their soon-to-open art gallery, called Gallery CERO.

Each year the Weinaugs, who live north of Orlando, Fla., sponsor and run a “en plein air” event called the Wekiva PaintOut. This special project, therefore, is referred to as “paint in,” which is an event where artists paint, within a space or in an enclosed environment, during a period of time for the purpose of completing paintings from their life.

Artists could submit any work, they just had to tell their unique pandemic story. The other artists’ works are available for viewing and purchase on the project’s website, www.thegreatpaint-in.com, or check out the Facebook page.

Wintermantel said the Paint In show will travel around the country and be displayed remotely through a satellite feed.

On a related topic, Arts Council officials said those who want to attend the closing reception for Ryann Cooley’s show “collective individual: glass portraits” may sign up for half-hour time slots from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday by visiting the website https://signup.com/go/PPbgCsW.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

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