Summit Under Quarantine
A New Collaboration with Photographer Joanie Schwarz
NOW ON EXHIBIT AT THE SUMMIT PUBLIC LIBRARY!
Please share a personal experience from this time of our quarantine and tag @SummitPublicArt #SummitUnderQuarantine
Are you interested in purchasing a photo from the Summit Under Quarantine Exhibit?
Small Metal Print (16″x24″): $150
Large Metal Print (24″x36″): $250
To purchase a Summit Under Quarantine metal print from the exhibition, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details:
- indicate the photo number you are interested in (located next to each photo),
- your full name,
- your phone number and email address for contacting you to confirm availability and finalize purchase details
There is a limited supply, and all photos will be sold “first come, first served”. Photos will be available in February 2021, after the installation is removed. Note that some photos may show wear from exhibition. Cash, Check (to “Friends of Summit Public Art”) or Credit are all accepted forms of payment. We are offering free delivery within the Summit, NJ City limits. Buyer must pay for shipping outside of this area. All exhibit sale proceeds support the artist commission and continued work of Summit Public Art.
You may also make a donation to Summit Public Art here. Your support enables us to continue our mission of providing public art experiences to all who live in, work in and visit Summit, NJ.
CHAPTER 1 – Empty Streets
Empty streets and storefronts predominate in the early stages of our lockdown, evidence of the necessary space between us. Union Place, the busy heart of downtown Summit, finds itself suddenly vacant even at rush hour. But here and there we see signs—in this case, a handmade OPEN TO GO sign in the window of the Summit Diner—that life goes on.
“When you see the emptiness of the streets,” says Schwarz, “don’t see the negative. See it as people staying home in order to keep each other safe. It is an active expression of love.”
CHAPTER 2 – In the Heart of the City
This second grouping speaks to our community’s response to increasing food insecurity due to COVID. At Memorial Field, volunteers from GRACE, an affiliate of the Junior League of Summit, routinely distribute food and household items to those in need. After the pandemic began, the number of families GRACE served quickly soared from 120 to over 500 each week. Here Schwarz captures the quiet resolve of those who arrive hours in advance to stand in line for much needed supplies and also the intensity behind the scenes as volunteers in masks go about this challenging but highly rewarding work.
Schwarz remarked, “At the new location of GRACE, hundreds of cars wrapped around the perimeter of Soldiers Field and another line of people on foot stretched across the grass. A quote by Jacques Diouf was seared in my mind. ‘Hunger is not an issue of charity. It is an issue of justice.’ Inside Cornog Field House, dedicated Summit volunteers in perpetual motion moved food and supplies out the door to those in need. I was witnessing a community with that sense of justice.”
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CHAPTER 3 – Portraits of This Time
This chapter begins with a portrait of James Tyler’s colossal head sculpture Brickhead Love, a familiar face on the Summit Village Green. He dons a mask as a vivid reminder of our shared vulnerability and of our responsibility to protect not just ourselves but each other.
What follows is a series of portraits unique to our time: some are neighbors, some are frontline heroes who continue to make a difference in our lives, all of them are hidden behind the ever-present mask.
“Our ‘new normal’. Passing smiles taken out of our lives, replaced with masks to protect each other. This felt like a sucker punch, because without hugs and handshakes, it was another hard emotional hit. We continue to follow these guidelines, realizing that eye contact and smile lines will have to do. Another form of “Love in Action,” says Schwarz.
CHAPTER 4 – Reawakening
By mid-April, spring had arrived along with signs that life would go on, despite the quarantine. Here we catch glimpses of families rediscovering the world outside. With trepidation, neighbors reconnect with neighbors around the Adirondack chairs featured prominently on so many front lawns. Children ventured into the parks, rediscovering spaces that were once familiar. Leaving our homes, we reclaimed our town, affirming “people live here.”
Schwarz found photographing the rekindling of life outside our homes particularly inspiring. “It was the first time I had felt joy in my work since the shelter-in- place order began,” she recalls.
CHAPTER 5 – Early Harvest
Early May brought the return of a beloved community institution, the Summit Farmers Market. Wearing masks and keeping a 6-foot distance, neighbors and vendors gathered downtown to enjoy the first harvest of the season, a small but significant step towards a new “normal.” After weeks of sheltering in place, the sight of old friends and tables piled high with fresh-picked produce signaled a welcome return to the way things used to be and would hopefully be again soon.
“The weekend opening of the Summit Farmers Market brought such a feeling of hope,” explained Schwarz. “Within the parking lot filled with vendors, there was a table for GRACE, always apparent that the Summit community takes care of each other.”
Also available for purchase:
Artist’s Background – Joanie Schwarz has been known in the publishing world for over 25 years for her dreamlike imagery, and her endless patience with children and chaos. Creating images that show unconditional love is what Joanie was born to do. Her work has been on the covers of Time, US News and World Report, NY Times Magazine and the LA Times. She is fascinated with, and has studied advanced natural lighting techniques with numerous artists, including Joyce Tenneson at The Maine Media Workshops and Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. Her award-winning photographs and portraits are displayed in homes and galleries throughout the world.
Artist Statement – During late March and early April, there was so much we didn’t know about the virus. The heightened uncertainty created fear. And with each new restriction, the anxiety increased. It was unnerving to see Downtown Summit suddenly vacant; the noise, energy, stilled to a surreal emptiness. Then the following realization that this scene was playing out globally — it was impossible to process. After having been commissioned by Summit Public Art, I set out to capture the emptiness of the quarantine through the lens of my camera. The earliest photographs reflect the unanimity with which the people of Summit adapted to New Jersey’s shelter in place order. I was alone but for Sugar Bear, my dog, who is in all the early “shut down” images because as a portrait photographer, I truly believe that every image is better with a beating heart in it. As I traveled through town, I recognized the thousands of people dutifully remaining at home, saw essential workers courageously venturing out to ensure the hospitals ran, and I witnessed the food supply chains struggling to function. My perspective changed. I wasn’t seeing restrictions and loneliness; I was viewing, “Love in Action.” Out of love for family and community, people were taking action to care for themselves and others. The citizens of Summit were doing what was necessary. Their commitment to one another replaced much of the fear with hope. And so we all move forward. Not knowing fully what is ahead.