By Janet Dodrill
About three years ago I joined a Friday night portrait sketch group, The Pretentious Cleveland Portrait Artists. The website is at www.literarycafeartists.com and the weekly model sessions can be found at the blog link. The group (formerly known as The Pretentious Tremont Artists of the Literary Cafe) was founded in 2005 by Tim Herron and Brian Pierce, who wanted to practice portrait drawing and drew bar patrons late every Friday night at the Literary Cafe in Tremont, Ohio. Over that past 15 years the group has grown. It is unique that it pays the model for their time with the finished portraits! Though the original meeting location has changed, the group has still been open to all for both drawing and public viewing while the artists work.
Since March 2020, because of the Covid-19 pandemic and stay at home orders, the group was able to move to an online streaming platform, thanks to the help of seasoned arts interviewer, Roger Miller, of Tues@7 on Facebook and YouTube, managing production for the first 12 weeks. This has enabled even a broader reach of artists to join in the weekly drawing session, beyond the Cleveland area. Artists then send in their portraits to give the model.
Around April of 2020, Tim Herron was interested in drawing portraits of doctors and nurses as a thank you for their service on the frontlines of battling the Coronavirus. Several artists around the world were making the news at the time involved in similar projects. Through his network of models, artists, and friends and their connections, he started receiving photographs and selfies of healthcare workers from different locations and hospital systems, including MetroHealth Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic. He opened up the project for any artists in his Friday group that wanted to participate.
So far (as of March 23, 2021), 18 artists have participated in this “Doctors and Nurses in Covid 19 Times” project, creating 155 original portraits, which are showcased on the group’s website at www.literarycafeartists.com/doctors-and-nurses-in-covid-19-times.
I personally have produced 28 portraits for the project to-date, and will continue to do more. It’s great practice and I enjoy being part of a group of artists working together. I have an individual webpage on the group’s site at www.literarycafeartists.com/janet-dodrill, where they can be viewed under my general portrait gallery. We are following along with the idea of giving the portraits to the models, in this case the doctors and nurses.
MetroHealth Hospital in Cleveland currently has an exhibit in their lobby, since last fall, of their portraits, which is visible to the public when they visit for their Covid vaccines. Linda Jackson at MetroHealth organized photos and exhibit. They also produced a video on the project, Local Artists Honor Frontline Health Care Workers.
As a result of posting some of my doctors and nurses portraits on instagram (@janetdodrill), I have been asked to tag these works for a curated North American exhibit using hashtag #portraitsforcovidheroes for inclusion in the project by Jules Smith @jules_smith_artist and @portratisforcovidheroes.
Thank you, to all healthcare workers helping to battle this virus in this pandemic and save lives. You are true heroes.
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