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Essential Work

March 20 – April 24, 2021

Exhibiting Artists:

Click artists’ names for biographies

Isidro Antonio Santoyo Bastida
Molly Bernstein
Shae Bishop
Stormie Burns
Courtney Dodd
Nickolaus Fruin
Michael Hayes
Mia Kaplan
Amber Marshall
Meghan Martin
Andrew B Meers
Rachel Meginnes
Maria Fernanda Nuñez
SaraBeth Post
Hannah Mitsu Shimabukuro
Gertrude Graham Smith
Scott Vander Veen

When the world shut down a year ago, many of us put our lives on pause. People were ordered to stay home, and only work deemed essential carried on.

Artists make work for different reasons, but often the artist’s job is to help themselves and others work through difficult thoughts or emotions, or to interpret and digest pivotal social and cultural events. They make work in hard times because they have to. For many, artists and otherwise, to stop working was not an option. The complexity of the repercussions of this pandemic cannot be expressed in one statement alone, as everyone processed their new reality differently. But for many, the conflict of how to support oneself and one’s family while staying home was paramount.

Artists felt an added loss of revenue as exhibitions and festivals were cancelled, sales plummeted, and opportunities vanished. The artists in this exhibition all received grant funding that became available as the need for financial assistance in the arts became apparent. Through the efforts of the North Carolina Arts Council, the Madison County Arts Council, ArtsNC, the federal government, and Toe River Arts, these artists received help they needed to keep carrying on in hard times.

It is with great pride that Toe River Arts presents the work by these grant recipients in this exhibition. This exhibition is a testament to the resiliency and significance of the arts in our community. As we reach the grim milestone of one year under this global pandemic, we take this opportunity to reflect on what we have and what we must preserve.