Westport art exhibit blends creativity with meaningful conversation

WESTPORT — Art can often serve as a platform to address the ills of the world, and that’s what the organizers of a pop-up exhibition titled “2020: People, Politics, Planet” look to showcase.

“We figured we would get a landlord to help us out, get a space, and allow us to use one of the spots for art that is different from the art we may normally show in Westport,” Darcy Hicks, co-organizer of the exhibition, said.

The exhibition will show the work of artists responding to climate change, political division, racial oppression and COVID-19. It will run from Saturday through Nov. 30 at 23 Jesup Road and online at www.2020pppwestport.com.

“We’re going to have events that involve spoken word, dance and panels specifically around these topics,” Hicks said.

The gallery will be open Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. during the course of the show. Masks will be required and the gallery capacity will be limited.

The Drew Friedman Community Arts Center and the Artists Collective of Westport are sponsoring the exhibit, which will showcase the artwork of artists throughout southern Connecticut.

Hicks said a diverse jury with only one Westporter helped to choose the art that will be displayed.

“We really wanted this show to be from the very beginning something that went outside of Westport and something that went outside of our usual art shows,” she said. “It has to start with our curating.”

Over 140 artworks were submitted with 35 chosen for the gallery exhibition. Another 32 works were chosen for inclusion on the website.

Amy Kaplan, a co-organizer of the exhibition, said the three p’s in the exhibition’s named encompassed many of the larger issues faced today and showed how they were interconnected.

“First its all about people, it’s how we see each other and how we treat each other — on a personal level and a societal level,” Kaplan said. “And then how racism and inequalities are entrenched and entwined in our politics and our policies, sowing dysfunction and destruction at home and abroad.”

She added while people fought each other the planet was also experiencing its own hardships due to climate change.

“So basically, what else is there? In 2020, it’s everything,” Kaplan said.

Artwork will allow people to approach these challenging conversations without inhibitions, according to Hicks. It can also set the platform for meaningful dialogue.

“People listen with their eyes,” she said. “That’s just something I believe.”

She said visual art creates a space for people with different experiences and backgrounds to come together.

“I think that’s really the power of art,” Hicks said. “This is messaging that gets through and allows people to reconsider what they believe are their truths.”