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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Online Exhibit Will Feature Art From Montanans Coping With Coronavirus

An online exhibit from the Western Heritage Center in Billings will show just how locals are feeling about the coronavirus pandemic. It’s called “Art in Isolation: Response to COVID-19.”

Lauren Hunley with the Western Heritage Center says the exhibit has nearly 170 unique and original pieces of art by Montanans expressing such emotions as anger, gratitude, humor and spirituality during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is really an emotional time and people are using art to process and express those emotions,” she says.

The exhibit is divided into six sections which include embroidery, quilts, sculptures, photographs, sketches and music.

One photo is a black and white picture of a birthday cake by Heidi Overgaard. It represents how her daughter spent her 15th birthday, a party of three — her mom, brother and the birthday girl.

“Sometimes, I just get an idea and snap a shot,” Overgaard says.

There’s poetry, including a poem by 12-year-old Sage McKnight, who reads it aloud to YPR, “I miss school. At first you’re excited and it is great, then your happiness turns into hate. In the beginnings there are things to do, Then boredom chokes you until you're blue. Too cold to go outside, The problem is worldwide. In the house along with nobody to talk to, You wish you were back at school with your crew. No drama at home is the good thing, This whole problem is like a bee sting. Government keeps adding plus two, While we're here not knowing what to do. This issue is ravenous for the old folks, I wish this problem was made up of jokes. I will never hate school again, I can promise that until I am one hundred and ten.”

Exhibit organizer Lauren Hunley says this free-to-view online exhibit is a way of documenting an historic time.

“Understanding that we’re living in historic times,” she said. “How do we document and track what is happening? How do we continue to be relevant for our community? How do we be a community space when people aren’t allowed to be in community spaces?”

Art in Isolation will be available on the Western Heritage Center’s website starting Friday, April 24 through December.

Copyright 2020 Yellowstone Public Radio

Kayla Desroches reports for Yellowstone Public Radio in Billings. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and stayed in the city for college, where she hosted a radio show that featured serialized dramas like the Shadow and Suspense. In her pathway to full employment, she interned at WNYC in New York City and KTOO in Juneau, Alaska. She then spent a few years on the island of Kodiak, Alaska, where she transitioned from reporter to news director before moving to Montana.
Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.
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