By Claire Coté
Over 60 artists from the international online artists group, The Drawing Box, will present small artworks created during the COVID-19 pandemic in The Drawing Box A5 Exhibition. (What is A5, you may ask? Aside from the USA and Canada, nearly every country in the world uses the “A” paper sizing system: A5 measures 5-7/8 x 8-1/4″.) We are honored to host the show as the tour’s only exhibition in the United States, here in Questa, New Mexico which is also the homeplace of participating artist and LEAP founder/director, Claire Coté. After this showing, the works continue their international exhibition journey by mail to Australia, Greece, the Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland, and India.
The touring exhibition of over 300 unframed works was curated by artist and Drawing Box co-founder Diane Henshaw, of Northern Ireland. It opened in Fermanagh in December 2020 as an online exhibition at the Galway Arts Centre, then began its international tour in 2021 to Paphos, Cyprus.
Claire Coté met Diane Henshaw in 2011 while participating in an artist residency in Ireland. The Drawing Box Facebook group was created soon afterward in 2012, with the idea of linking Irish and international artists interested in contemporary drawing and global networking. The group lapsed into inactivity, but was rekindled in March 2020 by Diane Henshaw. Throughout 2020 and 2021, the reactivated Drawing Box collective has helped give participating artists unique opportunities to be profiled internationally through new networks and shared programming, such as “meet the artist” online studio visits and international exhibitions like this one.
Exhibition curator and Drawing Box co-founder Diane Henshaw reflects, “A key focus of the events and programming has been to visually nurture members and their interests by sharing information, by creating connections, and in general being there for each other. There are many negative impacts the pandemic visited upon the world, the art world, too. The generosity of spirit and the courage to reach across… differences, the initiative of each of our host artists and host venues in some way define our ways out of the paralysis of COVID-19. The Drawing Box group feels privileged to connect with host communities around the world.”
It’s a rare treat to have contemporary art from around the globe on display in Questa. We are grateful to the Questa Public Library for working with us to show this collection of works in their beautiful new library addition, giving northern New Mexico access to this unique touring exhibition. And… all works are for sale!
This art show at the Questa Library is organized in partnership with LEAP, a program of the Questa-based nonprofit, Localogy.