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COVID & the Arts: QC Arts Re-opens

Quad City Arts

Quad City Arts has re-opened in Rock Island and is revamping its online and in-person programming.

As Illinois began to relax its social restrictions stemming from the pandemic, the Quad City Arts Center in downtown Rock Island re-opened. 

Following the next phase of the “Restore Illinois” plan, which also allowed bars and restaurants to open outdoor seating, with restrictions, executive director Kevin Maynard said May 29th was the earliest the downtown gallery could reopen.

Credit Quad City Arts
Kevin Maynard, Quad City Arts Executive Director

"We’re taking all the precautions, taking it seriously. In the gallery, both employees and patrons will be required to wear a facial mask. We’re also limiting the number of people in the gallery at a time to no more than 10 people. They’ll also be increasing the disinfecting and cleaning high-traffic and touch points, like door handles and counter tops."

“We’re excited to really be able to highlight our local artists again. We created the website so people can go and look at this art, and potentially purchase this art, but I think everybody agrees that seeing it on the screen and seeing it in person is a very different experience.”

Alex Salaverria, who joined earlier this year as media specialist, updated quadcityarts.com with the input from the staff, including showing works from the current exhibit and allowing people to buy art online, which was never available before from the 50-year-old nonprofit.

“Every person at Quad City Arts played a big role in improving the aesthetics, the way that the website functioned. I think now, it’s more intuitive; it’s got some great information and content, and that great added bonus of not only being able to look at the art online, but purchase that if you so choose.”

The 43rd-annual High School Art Invitational was presented online, since Quad City Arts could not hold the early April annual exhibit and awards ceremony. This year, they worked with teachers to present a digital gallery of the students’ art. Dawn Wohlford-Metallo, visual arts director, presented over $5,000 in student awards in the group’s online video.

The current gallery exhibit, which you can see in person through June 19th, is photography by Ken Urban of Durant, Iowa and paintings by Margaret Ertz, of Burlington, Iowa.

“Really, really talented artists and a really great show. We’re looking at some virtual opportunity to spotlight and highlight these artists, to give them an opportunity to talk about their work.”

Maynard says the Covid-19 pandemic has also cut back the number of Metro Arts projects and students involved this summer, and may change plans for the next Visiting Artist Series starting in the fall.

The 33rd annual Riverssance Festival of Fine Art is scheduled to go on September 19th and 20th in Lindsay Park in the Village of East Davenport. Quad City Arts is taking it over from Midcoast Fine Arts, which disbanded at the end of March.

“Depending on the guidelines from the state, what does that change for Riverssance? And regardless, how can we still have a Riverssance experience, given those changes? What can we do, to maybe take some of it or all of it virtual, to still give the exposure to these great artists that come to this festival?”

Quad City Arts is located at 1715 2nd Avenue, in downtown Rock Island. Free admission is available 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5 Saturdays.

Formerly the arts and entertainment reporter for The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus and Quad-City Times, Jonathan Turner now writes freelance for WVIK and QuadCities.com. He has experience writing for daily newspapers for 32 years and has expertise across a wide range of subject areas, including government, politics, education, the arts, economic development, historic preservation, business, and tourism. He loves writing about music and the arts, as well as a multitude of other topics including features on interesting people, places, and organizations. He has a passion for accompanying musicals, singers, choirs, and instrumentalists. He even wrote his own musical based on The Book of Job, which premiered at Playcrafters in 2010. He wrote a 175-page history book about downtown Davenport, which was published by The History Press in 2016. Turner was honored in 2009 to be among 24 arts journalists nationwide to take part in a 10-day fellowship offered by the National Endowment for the Arts in New York City on classical music and opera, based at Columbia University’s journalism school.