SANCTUARY: A Pop-Up Amateur Photography Show

Juror Statement

Amy Kurtz Lansing, Curator, Florence Griswold Museum

The Florence Griswold Museum’s gallery show “Nothing More American:” Immigration, Sanctuary, and Community, an exhibition by Matthew Leifheit includes contemporary photographs and historic paintings. [3D Tour of Exhibition] The artworks tell the story of immigrant and refugee families who have found sanctuary from deportation or persecution in local churches and in the town of Old Lyme, where they have begun new lives. https://florencegriswoldmuseum.org/nothingmoreamerican/
 
When the idea was floated to stage SANCTUARY, a pop-up photography exhibition inspired by the gallery show, little did we know how relevant the theme would become. Submissions for the exhibition opened as news of COVID-19 intensified, and soon, the Museum closed to visitors as social distancing was implemented as a key public health measure for reducing the virus’s spread. Plans for a physical exhibition during the month of May were reconfigured so that we could instead present the photographs online.
 
As we reviewed the photographers’ submissions in early April, it was evident that their works registered the new importance of sanctuary as Americans sheltered at home. Artists entered works that depict the places they feel safe and inspired, as well as the people (and pets) who stimulate their minds and surround them with love. Our horizons have narrowed to our apartments, houses, and yards. The photographers celebrate those environments as well as the hiking trails, beaches, and even travel destinations that have felt like sanctuaries to them. We particularly enjoyed the view of sanctuary reflected through the lenses of high school students, who submitted work as part of an academic assignment. Confinement to home, away from friends and school provided an alternative way to think about their lives.
                                                
Given the intensely felt and moving photographs that were submitted, the decision of which ones to include was not easy. We looked for photos that exemplified the concept of sanctuary as outlined in the call for submissions, taking into account both the imagery and the photographers’ words. Grain, lighting, color, and other technical qualities mattered to us, as did composition and a sense of intention from the photographer in achieving the results on view in each image.
 
While we did not include every submission in what is now an online exhibition, we marveled at the views of nature so many of the photographers captured, and are looking forward to seeking out the gorgeous locations they put before our eyes. Across the 300 photographs that were submitted to our site, nature prevailed as the embodiment of sanctuary, a place for contemplating not only the environment but also the individual, the communal, and the existential. As one of the few places outside our homes that we can explore these days, nature can offer sanctuary to us all through its beauty and dynamic of renewal. As you view SANCTUARY, we hope that you can share in that journey.

Generous support for this project provided by Art Bridges 

 

All Categories

Synergy in Fog
Marilyn McShane Levine

City: Richmond
State: RI

Medium: Photography
Artist Statement: Photography provides me with the means of capturing the extraordinary within the ordinary. The lens of my camera becomes an extension of my innermost being,capturing the essence within the image. The result provides a glimpse into what it means to be fully alive and mindfully connected to all in this early experience.
Broken Promises: Underpass
Nancy Oates

City: Old Lyme
State: CT

Medium: Archival Digital Photography
Artist Statement: A group of homeless people have created a tent city sanctuary in Nashville, Tennessee. Located specifically under a bridge of U.S. Highway 31, these tent cities can be seen throughout the entire United States - and beyond. An American flag hangs from the side of a tent. Are they veterans, surrounded by wheelchairs? What have been the promises made to them before going off to war and on their return? A month later the tent city is gone. Where are they now without a home?
ZEUS
William Oliver

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: Thunderbrook Falls was a really fun hike with my dad and his friend, we walked with clamps on our shoes to scale the icy hill. It was totally worth it for the pictures. The woods are a place where I can go walking to calm down, sometimes my kitten, Zeus, joins me on my walks. The woods also reminds me of my favorite cat, Macaroni, who used to go walking with us and of a time when there were no problems.
Grassy Hill Church
Vincent Peppito

City: Old Lyme
State: Connecticut

Medium: Photography
Artist Statement: The church is the most recognized symbol of sanctuary. This country church suggests peace and serenity, two of the most important characteristics of a sanctuary.
Final Sun
Katerina Petrosky

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: The photo of the lights quite literally symbolizes my power to tune in and out to the world with the flip of a switch in my closed, safe environment.
Little Reminder
Katerina Petrosky

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: The booklet in contrast to the rest of the decor is just a daily reminder to keep going on, despite the challenging, and bizarre, times we are in.
Calculated
Katerina Petrosky

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: This shows how my school work that causes me stress can be tamed when I bring it to my sanctuary.
Everyday Surroundings #1
Madeleine Pralea

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: I took these photos hoping to convey a sense of safety. My sanctuaries are my everyday surroundings, where I feel safe or calm and I wanted to focus on locations that make me feel safe. I conveyed a peaceful and serene feeling by focusing on the natural and calm colors.
Sanctuary
Mia Pulselli

City: Pembroke
State: MA

Medium: Digital photo
Artist Statement: A snowy day at the lake with a reflection of the trees onto the lake. My safe space where I spend some of my time, this place has many things to do.
Comfort in Dance
Lauren Rolla

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: These photos are some of the things that make me the happiest and put me at ease. They are all places or hobbies I can do to diminish my stress and allow me to enter my own little world and reflect on life and picture my future.
Swinging Serenity
Lauren Rolla

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: These photos are some of the things that make me the happiest and put me at ease. They are all places or hobbies I can do to diminish my stress and allow me to enter my own little world and reflect on life and picture my future.
Thirst
Sophia Salgar

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: With my theme, "Feel the Love", I approached my photographs with a lower depth-of-field construct. My goal was to capture Cooper's emotion and personality in a simple, easy-to-read way that allows the audience to feel as though they know and love this dog in the way I do; even without actually knowing him. When I am with this dog, I know I am home; I want my audience to be able to gain this feeling from these photographs as well.
Comfort in Nature #1
Devin Shah

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: The calmer and dampened colors of the photographs help create a calmness that is often not found around more vibrant, man-made colors. The lack of people makes the photos less busy and lets a person focus more on what they want, rather than what someone else does.
Bookshelf
Pegi Deitz Shea

City: Vernon-Rockville
State: CT

Medium: Color photography
Artist Statement: I was a poet first, and realized in my early 20's that I was essentially collecting and exploring images as a photographer does. I now exhibit my photographs and poems together in solo shows, as well as exhibiting or publishing them separately. I enjoy capturing images that express both a past and a future, and often use my writing to develop the "character" of an object or living subject with an inner monologue. I enjoy zooming in to a point of abstraction where I see a totally different world that my poetry can explore on the page, or totally toss out to the viewer/reader, inviting their interpretations.

Driftwood mollusks
Pegi Deitz Shea

City: Vernon-Rockville
State: CT

Medium: color photography
Artist Statement: I was a poet first, and realized in my early 20's that I was essentially collecting and exploring images as a photographer does. I now exhibit my photographs and poems together in solo shows, as well as exhibiting or publishing them separately. I enjoy capturing images that express both a past and a future, and often use my writing to develop the "character" of an object or living subject with an inner monologue. I enjoy zooming in to a point of abstraction where I see a totally different world that my poetry can explore on the page, or totally toss out to the viewer/reader, inviting their interpretations.

Senior Center
Daixi Shen

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: My goal was to show how both dogs and the local community center give unconditional support to whomever is in need. They are loyal, non-judgmental, compassionate, forgiving, and always dependable. My imagery is designed to show their strength, commitment, and resolve. They are a sanctuary to so many.
Buses
Daixi Shen

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: My goal was to show how both dogs and the local community center give unconditional support to whomever is in need. They are loyal, non-judgmental, compassionate, forgiving, and always dependable. My imagery is designed to show their strength, commitment, and resolve. They are a sanctuary to so many.
Walnut Hill Park
Sharon Straka

City: NEW BRITAIN
State: CT

Medium: photograph
Artist Statement: Walnut Hill Park in New Britain where I walk daily is source of tranquility, peace and hope. This photo was taken the day of the Race for the Cure which takes place annually in May and is one of the many community events in the park.
With Nanny
John Straub

City: Farmington
State: CT

Medium: digital photograph
Artist Statement: Nanny and Ceci share some time dressing Barbie unencumbered by their nine decade difference in age.
A Pair Under a Tree
Sadie Sullivan

City: Bellingham
State: WA

Medium: Photography

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