Local artists respond to pandemic in new virtual exhibition, ‘EMERGENCE’

Artist Mer Young’s “Coming to Light” in Port City Creative Guild’s first virtual exhibition, “EMERGENCE,” on view through September.

Artist Mer Young’s “Coming to Light,” a painting inspired by the forced slow down of our fast-paced lives due to COVID-19 and emerging to perceive the natural beauty of the world “hangs” in a virtual gallery space recently launched by new community collaboration, Port City Creative Guild.

Young’s artwork is one of a collection of pieces by 10 local artists responding to the pandemic in a new exhibition, “EMERGENCE,” on view through September. The exhibition follows the announcement in May that PCCG would support local artists while aiming to foster the Long Beach arts community as a whole.

Art is essential: New collaborative funds working artists, virtual gallery

Organizers say EMERGENCE (not to be confused with the Hi-lo Gallery’s inaugural art show, “Emergence” last summer) aligns with the “sense of urgency we are all feeling to renew hope, fight for justice and heal” and is a play on the word “emergency.”

Guests can browse the online gallery 24/7 and purchase the artworks. The 10 selected artists were each given $1,500 to create “thought-provoking and uplifting art.”

“It’s not just the financial support that is impactful, but also the platform to share our work, and elevating the value of artists as essential workers,” said artist Cynthia Lujan, whose painting, “In Situ,” is one of the first viewers see upon virtually entering the gallery.

Artworks displayed include Young’s “Coming to Light,” Jorge Mujica’s vibrant sculpture, which he calls a Free Standing Painting, “Despondent in time of Corona,” inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ book “Love in the Time of Cholera,” and Tidawhitney Lek’s painting “Lights Off,” capturing the beauty of home as a space for reflection.

“Lights Off” by artist Tidawhitney Lek and “Oil” by Nat Iosbaker in Port City Creative Guild’s first virtual exhibition, “EMERGENCE.”

“With the uncertainty of our current state of affairs, we wanted to provide a platform that instilled a sense of rebirth and hope with the work of these talented artists, and provide a concept with which they could interpret in their own point of view on what it means to ’emerge,'” said PCCG representative Brandon Dowling.

EMERGENCE will be installed at Community Hospital Long Beach once it reopens. Selected pieces will also be displayed at the Long Beach Museum of Art’s Downtown location after it reopens from its closure due to COVID-19.

The 10 artists were selected to participate in PCCG’s first show through a collaborative process led by Long Beach-based creative agency, Intertrend, but in September, expect the Arts Council for Long Beach to organize a call for the next round of artists to get involved.

For more information and to view EMERGENCE, visit portcitycreativeguild.org.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.
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