Breaking News
More () »

Boise City Department of Arts collects community's artwork reflecting on 2020 and the pandemic

From quilts to digital prints, the city's COVID Community Collection captures the feelings of the pandemic.

BOISE, Idaho — Last summer, during the first COVID-19 surge, the Boise City Department of Arts and History set out to make sure to capture the moment in history through the help of local artists.

The department sent a call-out for artists to create something that would grasp the difficulties and the determination of coping with a global health crisis.

By August, more than two dozen pieces of work, ranging from quilts to poems and digital prints, were submitted to what would become Boise's Community Collection. The department hopes it will explain what happened to future generations.

According to Brandi Burns, the History Programs Manager for Boise Arts and History, artists have the talent to capture a moment's feelings and speak to experiences.

"These pieces were all created at various times over the last year so you do see the difficulties of the last year in there, you see glimmers of hope and being able to return to some sort of normalcy again," she said.

The collection has 27 pieces from 25 artists, creating a captivating time capsule that encompasses the year that was 2020.

For 14-year-old Brooke Rowen, the opportunity to contribute to the community art collection offered her a place to reflect on her quarantine experience, which she did with her "Teenage Apocalypse" piece.

"Like I really wanted it to be centered around like the feeling of being trapped, I guess because that's how I felt a lot and that's how a lot of teenagers felt," she said.

Brooke added that she wanted to capture the boredom but also how "all you can do is just sit and watch the world and just try not to get caught up in it."

Her artwork and many others will now be considered a guide for future generations to understand the expansive and nuanced societal and personal struggles the coronavirus inflicted on the world. 

However, for Brooke, quarantining during the pandemic provided her time to grow personally and time to talk with her parents about what she was going through.

"You know, looking back on it," she said, "I'm kind of happy that this generation kind of had a chance to step back from all the stress that was going on and I don't know, kind of like have a breather."

Brooke's artwork was the first she has ever sold and she was paid $500 for being one of the 27 pieces selected for the collection.

View the COVID Community Collection here.

Join 'The 208' conversation:

Before You Leave, Check This Out