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Local art show explores Covid pandemic struggles

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For close to two years, Covid has marched through the world, making life difficult for all of us. Nearly everyone has been touched by the virus in some way, whether they’ve had it themselves, know someone who has had it or lost a friend or family member to it. Plus, many of us have stayed away from friends and family; afraid of spreading the virus to someone we love. Hugs and handshakes are few and far between. It’s been hard.

Local art gallery owner Lily Formato’s latest gallery exhibit highlights the struggle of the last two years with an exhibit aptly titled “What We’ve Been Through.” The show opens Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. with a reception featuring refreshments that include West Wind Winery wine and music by local brothers Davis and Dalton Little. Formato Fine Arts is located at 100 W. Main St., Wytheville.

A dozen artists have submitted their work for the exhibit.

“It’s about what the artists went through during the pandemic,” Formato said. “And what it was like being kept inside and being away from family members and all of the emotions that went on in 2020 and 2021. It gives the artists’ perspectives on this interesting time in history.”

The show will highlight different aspects of fallout from the pandemic, like missing vacations or not being able to see your grandmother, staying home and not having human connections.

In addition to local and anonymous artists who will display their work, two Tiktok famous artists have pieces in the show: Kristen Landsman and Mycha Bueche. New York City-based Bueche is also an art director for Target. Glass artist Elliott Todd, who had a showing at Formato Fine Arts in October, also has pieces in the show.

Wytheville-based artist Kay Sutherland has a painting of irises at the gallery, along with some other work. According to Formato, Sutherland painted the flowers as a tribute to her grandmother. Missing your grandmother is a sentiment that resonates with many during the pandemic, including Formato.

“I was unable to see my grandmother during her last days,” she said. “I missed seeing her in her garden.”

Prices for the artwork range from $25 for prints, up to about $1,000 for original work.

“The type of art being shown is all over the place in terms of size,” Formato said, adding that the works display a variety of mediums and styles – including still life, impasto paintings, pop art, modern art and collage art.

In addition to the show, Formato is celebrating her third year as the owner of Formato Fine Arts.

“It’s kind of crazy to believe that I opened this gallery when I was 18, and I’m 21 now. I’m able to drink at my own shows now,” she said. “It’s been a really weird year with Covid. As a small business owner, it’s been hard. This is my first art show since Covid; I want it to turn out well and see what the atmosphere is like. If there’s a good turnout, I’ll have more shows.”

To reach reporter Millie Rothrock, call 276-228-6611, ext. 573, or email


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