"Virus" by Angela Potaczek

Art can be used to communicate. It can be used to heal. It can be used for good. When it accomplishes all three, it may be at its best, as is the case with the show of collage and multimedia art, “apART 8×10,” at Expressions Graphics, 29 Harrison St., Oak Park.

Three artists created the works for the show. Angela Potaczek is an art therapist, licensed clinical professional counselor, artist and jewelry designer. Eric Dean Spruth is an artist and an expressive art therapist. Julie Gard Freeney is a visual artist.

Potaczek has known Spruth “from the art therapy community in Chicago for around 25 years,” she said. Potaczek is an artist member of Expressions Graphics and lives in Elmwood Park. Spruth, of Gary, Indiana, has known Freeney for about the same amount of time from volunteering together at an organization that serves developmentally delayed adults according to Potaczek. Freeney lives in Grayslake. 

Last February, Potaczek met with Spruth and they spoke of ways to “commit to making one piece of art a month that would be 8 x 10-inch or smaller so that it could be easily mailed,” she said. They also discussed a show and fundraiser at the culmination of the undertaking.

“As the weeks went on and the pandemic exploded, we realized the relevance of our project,” Potaczek said. “The pandemic and the catastrophic political climate affected the content of our work, and the work became an outlet for our emotions.”

“The three of us looked forward to receiving each other’s artwork and feeling an emotional connection to each other over the span of the year,” she said. “The artwork became a tie that kept us connected given the fact that we couldn’t really see each other, especially since the pandemic was restricting our travel and our ability to get together without taking health risks.” 

Their project ended in November. The three artists agreed to donate all sales to nonprofit Expressions Graphics “to support the arts in this difficult time when small community businesses are struggling,” Potaczek said. 

Each work of art is priced at $20.20. The gallery of artworks can be viewed and purchased online at expressionsgraphics.org/apart-8×10. Visit Expressions Graphics on the closing date, Saturday, Jan. 30, 1 to 4 p.m. to view the artworks in person. Masks and social distancing required.

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