current exhibit

COVID-19 Crisis or Opportunity

Artists Response Group Exhibition

opening virtually september 11, 2020

livestream on Facebook 5 pm RMST

The new exhibit COVID-19 Crisis or Opportunity - Artists Response Group Exhibition, runs through November 30th.


The opportunity is that the theme is creativity in the time of COVID-19. One that resonates with artists around the world. 

The works in the show do not necessarily represent images of the virus or its negative consequences, but the overflowing of creativity in this time of change. The theme attracted visual artists, sculptors, photographers and film-makers from many parts of the world: Sophia, Bulgaria; Edinburg, Texas;  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; San Francisco and Oakland, California; New York, Philadelphia; Denver, Aquilar, Walsenburg, Trinidad and La Veta, Colorado; and many other locals.  

"The Pandemic and the Pangolin" 
Annamarie Trombetta

The crisis is being shut in – isolated – separate from the camaraderie that we know of as the art community.  The opportunity is the time it allotted us to think – to begin to see new ways of being.  How we cope while staying safe and practicing healthy habits so that the virus will not overcome us is also a theme, we heard from many of our artists friends.  People who once had an occasional drink stopped all together in fear that their immune system would weaken.  We also heard from some of the artists in the exhibit that they felt their civil liberties were being infringed upon – that by wearing a mask they were being put out.  Hard to believe!  Brendt Berger who co-runs the museum and is in this exhibit answered that thought with “so if you were alive during the Blitz in London (WWII) and you had to urinate would you put the lights on?” Interesting thought I would say.  There are so many emotions being expressed in this exhibit: fear, anxiety, hope, clarity.  Some of the artists stuck with what they know – having more time – they even perfected their work further. The youngest artist in the show is Brandy Gilbert.  Her works were inspired by found wood and the repetition of patterns.  Brendt Berger also uses repetition and created well over 100 new works.  Annamarie Trombetta’s print of the original “The Pandemic and the Pangolin” pictured above describes the theme more literally:

“This  canvas depicts  darkness and sunlight conjoined by the ethereal energy radiating from the hand held text within the image.  The sides of the canvas are painted with symbols of various religions and beliefs that could represent the spiritual text on  the canvas.  The message is that all faiths are one in the same.  The painting stands on a wooden rotating spinner.

The  circular  canvas  is encased within a glass rattan box to symbolize the world  and the current "boxed in" state of circumstances. The coronavirus  in the atmosphere is the same as the viral source, the pangolin ( Asian anteater.)

The original painting rotated and was framed behind glass.  Trombetta's other work in the exhibit is a print The Chinese Scholars Garden Bagua Colors of Coronavirus.  The Bagua is a Chinese philosophical concept that is superimposed on a house or environment. I used the colors of the Bagua on each side of the Octagon which is the geometric structural format imposed conceptually upon a space.   This presentation  is to reveal that the virus is all pervasive.”

Both of her works on view are Giclee prints.  The ease in this method and overnight shipping also speaks about our current time – it was easier to make Giclee prints then ask the artist to leave her apartment and risk waiting in line at a mail carrier. 

Another artist Elizabeth Hansen not only dealt with the fear of the “all pervasive” virus she drove through wildfires on both sides of the freeway to get to FedEx from her town in California to the closest one in Petaluma.  The night she mailed the works we spoke by phone Elizabeth was quite rattled and besides the ordeal of driving through fire she had to start packing as evacuation orders were in effect.  Luckily they were lifted soon after and she was able to remain in her home.  Below please enter the link to her poetic works and writing that are in the exhibit 17 original watercolors and mixed media in Elegy for My Alma Mater.  This is a real outpouring of emotion, thought and subconscious connection to the moment.  We are so honored to have the whole series in this exhibit.  Here is an example: 

Breaching, Elizabeth Hansen

September 2019 with writings Spring 2020

new life new worlds

original painting on Arches Watercolor paper 11” x 14” acrylic and metallic paint

Another generous Californian Jan Wurm sent four original works speak to the angst of the moment.  Below is a full list of all the artists in this show and oh I forgot to mention each one of them is a friend or one is now a friend.  Ann Bradford Spencer responded to a social media post on Instagram.  She lives in Oklahoma City area and generously mailed the work.  This is her response to the show:

“I saw the call for art about creativity during the pandemic on Instagram and wanted to submit a painting of mine for consideration. This abstract artwork is acrylic on canvas (11x14) and is entitled “Unpredictable.” This year can be characterized by many words, but for me, the word “unpredictable” continues to loop through my mind as I contemplate it. I also feel that it has affected my art as well. My work lately is much less predictable and more in the moment and intuitive. As we continue to experience this crazy, unpredictable year, we must continue learning to live and love in the moment, and rely more on our intuition. For me, art is such a metaphor for life, and this painting has really captured the metaphor for life right now.”  

The names of all the artists in the exhibit are:

Linn Baker, Tim Baker, Brendt Berger, Cristine Boyd, Ann Bradford, Maria Cocchiarelli, Ben Eagle, Ray Espinoza, P.D. Garrett, Archil Gheghechkori, Brandy Gilbert, Elizabeth Hansen, Kathy Hill, Jim Long, Chris MacMichael, Emily Nieswiadomy, Charles Parson, Collin Parson, Devon Parson, John Raggio, Brian Rosino, Lika Shubitidze, Gregory Tait, Miryana Todorova, Annamarie Trombetta, Paul Valadez, Gary Weston, Jan Wurm

The virtual opening scheduled for September 11th on Facebook will be recorded so if you are not able to join us that day please view it when you have a moment. 

Exhibit Installation in process: John Raggio sculpture in foreground, Miryana Todonova on left, Brendt Berger Center, Maria Cocchiarelli on right

 Covid Lamp, Gary Weston

picturing women inventors

opening april 10, 2021

Smithsonian Poster Exhibition Highlighting the History of Women Inventors in the United States


Throughout American history, women with diverse backgrounds and interests created inventions that changed lives every day. But women haven’t always had equal opportunities to be inventors or received as much recognition. The Smithsonian and the United States Patent and Trademark Office present “Picturing Women Inventors,” a poster exhibition that explores the inventions of 19 highly accomplished American women. Astronauts, computer pioneers, and businesswomen join athletes, engineers, and even teenagers in this remarkable group of inventors. The posters will be on view at Museum of Friends. 

“Picturing Women Inventors” showcases the breakthroughs, motivations, and challenges women encountered while pursuing their goals as inventors. The poster exhibition highlights stories of inventors like Marilyn Hamilton, who after a hang-gliding accident in 1978 left her paralyzed, invented a lightweight wheelchair that was easy to maneuver. Diversity of background and age are showcased including inventor Alexis Lewis, who at 12-years-old in 2011 was inspired to adapt a traditional Native American sled, called a travois, by adding wheels to create a simpler way to transport families and their belongings in Somalia.

This poster exhibition was designed to educate and inspire young people to see themselves as future inventors.  

“Picturing Women Inventors” is distributed at no cost to schools, libraries, museums and community organizations by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It’s sponsored by Lyda Hill Philanthropies IF/THEN Initiative and Ericsson. 

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit

The Lemelson Center has led the study of invention and innovation at the Smithsonian since 1995. The center’s activities advance scholarship on the history of invention, share stories about inventors and their work and nurture creativity in young people. The center is supported by The Lemelson Foundation and located in the National Museum of American History. For more information, visit

past exhibits

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