Local resident calls for pandemic art for display

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published May 25, 2021

 Macomb Township Resident Amanda Koss is curating a self-portrait art panel titled “Let’s Zoom: Portraits of our Artist Communities.” She said  the goal is to bring artists together  during the pandemic.

Macomb Township Resident Amanda Koss is curating a self-portrait art panel titled “Let’s Zoom: Portraits of our Artist Communities.” She said the goal is to bring artists together during the pandemic.

Photo provided by Amanda Koss

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — It’s a call for art intended to look at the lighter side of the pandemic.

Amanda Koss, of Macomb Township, along with artist Marta Carvajal, are calling upon local artists of all disciplines to create a 12-by-12 self-portrait in their own style. Pieces will be part of a panel installation titled “Let’s Zoom: Portraits of our Artist Communities.”   

Koss said Carvajal, a Detroit-based artist originally from Spain, designated her a curator.

“We have brought on iconic Detroit Potter Debbie LaPratt to our team, which is exciting,” Koss said. “The goal of the panel is to bring artists together among the past year-and-a-half living with COVID. Marta called me one day and said she wanted to create a panel to form one giant installation.”

She added that, usually, the art scene is hustling, but the pandemic has been tough, leaving many artists static.

Koss said that before the pandemic, the scene was happy and joyful — a good place to be in.

“People were creating and had people to talk to, but since COVID, a lot of galleries are shut down or have capacity limits,” she said.  

An online description for the call states that “self-portraits are to be inspired by 365 days of living within the COVID-19 pandemic and all of those virtual calls. This is a community project which signifies unity and the coming together of the artist communities throughout the Detroit-metro areas.”

Artists are asked to submit a self-portrait inspired by 365 days of “Zoom calls, awkward frozen faces, thumbnails, backgrounds, those stubborn filters and you,” it adds.

Koss said the goal is to have about 40 pieces as part of the panel to install in a gallery.

As curator, Koss said she is in charge of determining which entries will be in the panel, how it looks and where it is going.

By July, the plan is for the panel to be on display at Irwin House Detroit.

Considered a self-employed artist, Koss decided to act on her dream of working in abstract art, evolving into the artist she is today.

“I’ve always had an interest in art, which is why I went to art school,” she said.

She has a professional background in graphic design and worked in the field for about 10 years.

“When my youngest was born, he was premature, so I decided to leave my career behind and stay home with him because he had medical issues,” Koss said. “A couple of years after that, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and I found myself very unhappy and needing an outlet.”

Koss began working with resin before painting, but she then found out she was allergic to resin.

“Acrylic was the last thing I wanted to work with, but I eventually ended up giving in,” she said. “It became something that I enjoy, and it perks my spirits up.”

The Cheryl Zemke Boutique in Wyandotte will launch the panel installation project. An opening reception open to the public was May 21.

People can submit their work by June 20 to Koss at amandakossart@gmail.com.

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