Pandemic Journal: An Introduction Note to VGO

Hello and welcome,

My name is Alicia McDaniel and I am the founder of Virtual Gallery Online (VGO). I have held an arts residency for one year and three months as a Studio Artist at Root Division Gallery (RD) located in San Francisco, California. Last summer of 2020, my friend and fellow Studio Artist Melissa Wang and I imagined a collaboration that would later include three other RD Studio Artists. Melissa provided an elegant, leather bound sketchbook that each of us would mail to one another over the course of the season.

The Pandemic Journal, May 2020, Photo courtesy of Melissa Wang.

It’s important to mention that the Pandemic Journal was created during a time of crisis and despair. 451,000 people in the United States and over 2 million people across the world have been killed by COVID-19 during the time this blog post was drafted. Beginning in March of 2020, Californians were ordered to stay at home and abide by shelter-in-place restrictions to prevent the spread of this horrific plague. Life has not been the same since.

It has been challenging for individuals of all fields to maintain any sort of normalcy or motivation to continue their work day or passions. As an artist myself, I lost momentum in creating new work after the shelter-in-place order was first issued. From March to May, I was struggling to finish my final semester as a Visual and Critical Studies student at California College of the Arts (CCA). It became difficult to balance school, my art making practice, and my chaotic, personal home situation. One of three had to be given up.

An entry in the Pandemic Journal created by Melissa Wang, 2020.

I effectively lost access to my studio space when I moved to Sacramento, CA. I did not start making work again until Melissa approached me. It was through our collaborative journal that I began to find inspiration and comfort again through solidarity. I didn’t feel so alone after being in conversation with other artists who were going through their own trials and tribulations. After Melissa received the completed journal from RD Artist Kacy Jung, we decided that its contents should be shared to stir inspiration and feelings of affirmation for other artists and viewers.

This project has set the foundation for what I hope to achieve with VGO. Just as the journal brought positive, motivating feelings of comfort and affirmation to the five participating artists, I hope that this virtual gallery can do the same for others everywhere. I am thrilled to be showcasing this great work and I am hopeful for the future of this project space. I look forward to working with other artists who need extra support! Thank you for reading and please subscribe to our mailing list below for updates and open calls.

1 thought on “Pandemic Journal: An Introduction Note to VGO”

  1. So glad we were able to work on this project and exhibition together. I am looking forward to VGO and it’s bright future

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