Student Artwork on Display at the BMA: Visual Metaphors of the COVID-19 Pandemic
What do you imagine it would be like to be a child in a global pandemic? Would your memories be linear, or would they come to you in no particular order? Would they be made of things you saw with your eyes, or things you felt in your chest? What are the images that would stay with you?
Children were asked to imagine how they would explain what it’s like to grow up in a pandemic when they met artist Katherine Dilworth for the first time in their elementary school art rooms this year. The fiber artist worked with students in two Maryland elementary schools–Bannockburn Elementary in Montgomery County and Bryant Woods Elementary in Howard County–over a series of weeks as part of an Arts for Learning residency to design and create quilts composed of visual metaphors reflecting on life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sections from the quilts reflecting on life during the COVID-19 pandemic will be on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art on December 4 from 1-5 pm as part of their Community Day Celebration.
In this video, artist Katherine Dilworth explains the process of working with elementary school students on the creation of a needle-felted pandemic quilt.
Dilworth taught the students how to illustrate their ideas onto squares using a technique called needle felting. With tufts of dyed sheep wool and barred needles in hand, students reflected on and recreated their fresh memories and ongoing realities. They built up layers of fiber to illustrate hopefulness and isolation, new ways of communicating and connecting, sadness, fearfulness, and quiet. Some of the metaphors that emerged were of starry nights and the vast universe, there was a caged chicken, a dove delivering a vaccine-filled syringe to the world, and a rainbow spectrum of virus molecules. Once their individual metaphors were complete, teachers, parents, and even grandparents came together to assemble the students’ work into giant quilts.
And now the greater community has the chance to experience the artwork that resulted from these residencies. Sections from the quilts reflecting on life during the COVID-19 pandemic will be on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art on December 4 from 1-5 pm as part of their Community Day Celebration. In addition, Katherine Dilworth will be leading needle-felting workshops at the museum for the general public on that day.
Learn about the event at the BMA on their website.