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Montalvo Displays Original Artworks Around Bay Area Examining The Issues Caused By Social Isolation

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Montalvo Displays Original Artworks Around Bay Area Examining The Issues Caused By Social Isolation

Throughout June and July, Montalvo Arts Center will present original artworks around the Bay Area for viewing on billboards and bus shelters, in a new public exhibition entitled lone some. In association with its 2019-2020 programming initiative, SOCIAL: Rethinking Loneliness Together, Montalvo will transform traditional advertising and commerce medium spaces into catalysts for conversation and connection.

Seeking to inspire and provoke questions about what it means to experience loneliness, local and national artists and poets were commissioned to create works for presentation on billboards and bus shelters in the East Bay, San Francisco, and the South Bay. lone some will be on display June 1 - July 31, 2020.

Artworks will be featured on billboards located in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and East San Jose, and on bus shelters throughout the Peninsula from San Bruno to Millbrae, Burlingame, San Mateo, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and Santa Clara. More information, including a detailed map of where the works can be seen, is available at montalvoarts.org.

Featured on 25 independent public sites all around the Bay Area, including Montalvo's public park, and the entry foyer (visible from the street) of the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, lone some will include works by Lucas Artists Fellow Chloë Bass, Modesto Covarrubias, Leena Joshi, Jane Chang Mi, Susan O'Malley (1976-2015), and Alyson Provax. Each artist created work considering the theme of isolation and loneliness in the ever-changing landscape of our urban areas.

Last fall Montalvo Arts Center launched the year-long program SOCIAL: Rethinking Loneliness Together, created specifically to confront the growing worldwide epidemic of loneliness. "At a time when people are more connected than ever through social media, loneliness had emerged as a major global public health crisis," says Executive Director Angela McConnell. In 2017, the US Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, called loneliness the "most common pathology" he encountered in all his years of medical practice. In 2018, the UK appointed a "minister for loneliness" to address social and health issues caused by social isolation. In Japan, robots designed to provide companionship are emerging to combat rising loneliness in a country where 40% of its citizens will live alone by 2040. Through workshops, walks, screenings, exhibitions, and new artist commissions on Montalvo's grounds and beyond, guests were invited to engage with artists and explore solitude while discovering new (and old) ways that authentic connections can be built in the digital world.

Little did Montalvo realize how profoundly this program would resonate when all of humanity faced the impact of forced isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world adapts to the new norms of social distancing, the works of lone some have taken on even more widespread relevance. Says Montalvo's Director, Lucas Artists Program, Kelly Sicat, "Our current situation of shelter in place and social distancing has created an entirely new level of urgency to the topic of loneliness, which has now become relevant to millions more people. These works will be viewed by individuals driving in the safety of their cars, taking socially-distanced walks, or commuting by bus along the peninsula. We hope lone some will not only provoke curiosity, but also spark conversation and connection." Many of these public works will include a phone line for viewers to reach out and connect more closely with the artists, some of which may allow for messages in response to their pieces.

lone some would not have been possible without the generous support of Wanda Kownacki, or the inspiration and creative support of the curatorial collaborative Vignettes (Serrah Russell and Sierra Stinson) and their public art series, a lone. This exhibition is here to remind the isolated viewer - we are all alone together.


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