Socially Distanced, Creatively Connected

A special juried folk-art exhibition highlighting pandemic creativity

July 2 to December 31, 2021

Carrying forward the spirit and mission of Vesterheim Folk Art School, the exhibition includes over 70 pieces representing woodworking, rosemaling, knifemaking, blacksmithing, jewelry, weaving, and fiber art.

The artwork follows Norwegian folk-art traditions but also includes contemporary departures from the historical. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many interruptions across the globe, creativity and the freedom of artistic expression has flourished, and the artwork that everyone submitted was inspirational.

The stories behind the artworks are equally interesting. The pandemic offered opportunities to learn a new skill, complete a project that was started some years ago, or celebrate family.

There are two awards given as part of the exhibit – one by the jury and also a People’s Choice Award, selected by popular vote from exhibit visitors. Come out and vote for a favorite!

Artworks were selected by a panel of four jurors including three jurors with a connection to artistic practice and the healthcare field. Jurors were Linnea Carlson, representative for sponsor Decorah Bank and Trust; Karen Misseldine, registered art therapist, licensed mental health counselor, and visual artist; Norma Refsal, certified college health nurse (retired), tradition-inspired folk artist, and teacher; and Kevin Sand, MD, retired physician, naturalist, and frequent folk-art class participant.

Find a list of Best of Show winners and the People’s Choice winner here.

Vesterheim is grateful to exhibit supporters: the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs; The National Endowment for the Arts; and Decorah Bank & Trust Co.