'Suspended Animation' project calls for community participation

Courtesy photoTricia Jones, Heidi Newfell and Paula Estey put up “Suspended Animation” packets outside the Paula Estey Gallery at 3 Harris St. in Newburyport for people to take, complete and return as part of an art project.

NEWBURYPORT — The Paula Estey Gallery, A Center for Art and Activism, invites the community to participate in its latest project, “Suspended Animation: Joys and Sorrows, An Emerging Conversation About Our World Now.”

Community members can pick up a free COVID-19-safe packet outside the front of the gallery at 3 Harris St. on a first-come, first-served basis.

Each packet contains materials and instructions to design a card with the topic of “joy” as the focus, and another with the topic of “sorrow” in mind. Artists are invited to use paint, pencils, glue, fabric, magazines materials, collage or any medium of their choosing. No artistic tendencies are required.

All finished art pieces should be returned to the gallery no later than July 8. 

“We are in such strange times with the pandemic,” gallery owner Paula Estey said.

“This communal art is a way to help us connect, share with each other, and unite to create a piece that reflects the joys, sorrows and other emotions that are in our hearts these days.”

Estey has been hosting online artist talks in the past month to explore how the coronavirus has affected their art and is expanding this effort to the community.

The project is an offspring of the ongoing “Visual Journal” by Ipswich artist Tricia Jones, whose multimedia art is on display at the gallery.

Jones and fellow Paula Estey Gallery artist Heidi Newfell are spearheading this hanging art installation. The final artwork will be revealed at a street reception at the gallery July 17.

“Let’s see what our hearts have to say,” Estey said.

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