Jaques Art Center graphic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend life as we know it, a local mainstay is caught up in the current.

Just before the state went to its “stay at home” order, the Jaques Art Center opened its annual juried art show – titled this year “Strokes of Genius.” More than 120 pieces of original art from 50 local and regional artists was on displace.

Then came March 13, and the local museum has been closed since. That doesn’t mean the museum staff hasn’t been keeping busy.

“We’re still applying for grants,” said executive director Pamela Andell. “We’re always looking forward to our next year.”

The problem with this year, of course, is rearranging the schedule to make everything work for 2020.

“At this point, we’ve lost one whole time frame,” she added. “Everything is locked in.”

The good news for area art enthusiasts is that the museum is planning on reopening May 19.

There are several adjustments to the schedule for the museum, however. Included are:

• The teen art show, originally scheduled for April 27, has been cancelled.

• The “Strokes of Genius” show, originally scheduled to be up through May 2, has been extended until June 30 due to the shutdown. Artists are also encouraged to start planning ahead for the 2021 show, the theme of which is “Happy Trails.”

• If participating in the community canvas program, canvases can be dropped off from Tuesday, May 5 through Friday, May 8 during the regular museum hours of 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Artists are asked to put their name and telephone number on the back of the canvas, place it in a plastic bag and take it to the handicapped-accessible door on the front east side of the building,  where a box will be placed for canvases.

The show, originally scheduled for May 8 through July 4, will be postponed until later in the summer, with dates to be announced. The Aitkin County Friends of the Arts will host a preview of the program at their fair building during the Aitkin County Fair.

• The next scheduled art show will be “Pop Color Universe,” featuring the pop art of James Bzura, who currently resides in Crosby.

His exhibition is scheduled to run from July 10 through Aug. 29. Pop Color Universe includes a line-up of train boxcars designed and painted for museum walls, as well as many other bright (and lighted) pieces.

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