Guest Blog by Jennifer Garner
As the curator of rotating exhibits at Denver International Airport, I oftentimes get to witness and experience the world through other people’s eyes – or cameras! Due to COVID-19, a nearly empty airport and massive budget cuts, I was tasked with continuing my airport exhibits planning – at no cost. My solution? Create a virtual exhibit and put out a state-wide (Colorado) call-for-entry asking for photographs depicting positive interpretations of the “new norm” during the pandemic.
My goal for the virtual exhibit, Colorado from a Distance, was to capture the creative and uplifting ways people stay connected during such trying times. I specifically asked for images of distantly celebrated special occasions, how people kept in contact with loved ones and how people found a sense of community in a unique and safe way. The results were beautiful and endearing. It was so hard to narrow them down, but the final photographs were absolutely awe-inspiring. Some brought bittersweet tears to my eyes.
Overall, the pandemic has essentially forced me to create new and unique programming while dually fulfilling a mission to culturally engage the greater community. The silver lining? I have met and befriended so many new people, creatives and artists! I have to say, there’s nothing better than expanding my archive of amazing artists but I especially enjoy alerting people that their photo was selected for an exhibit — and that it’s going to be showcased in partnership with one of the nation’s busiest airports!
What an unexpectedly strange, disappointing, and topsy-turvy year it’s been! But there have absolutely been glimmers of joy and optimism due to many of us choosing to look at the world through an entirely different set of lenses. It was genuinely a labor of love to work on the virtual exhibit project this year as it brought a huge amount of joy to my soul. Plus, I knew it brought happiness and inspiration to so many others. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to personally witness how people creatively persevere during the toughest of times. And to me, nothing is more beautiful than that.
View DEN’s virtual exhibits at www.flydenver.com/about/art_culture/virtual_programming