BELFAST — A new art exhibit exploring and processing COVID-19 and grief through art is now open at the H. Allen and Sally Fernald Art Gallery at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Ave. The show, on display through December, is free and open to the public Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A free public reception will be held Sunday, Oct. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Two groups are participating in this art show — the Eddy Middle School in Newry and the Treasure Trove Artistry Project.

Eddy Middle School is a small, independent school in rural western Maine that gives students freedom, responsibility and accountability. As part of their studies during the pandemic, students used prompts to write truths and metaphors about both COVID and masks. The metaphors were then translated into watercolor paintings using a negative space technique. Work from over a dozen Eddy Middle School students will be on display in this show.

Treasure Trove Artistry celebrates the creative impulse as a universal language. It began after founder Patricia Kaplan lost her husband in April 2020, at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. In deep grief, Kaplan turned to poetry for solace and grounding. She began sending her poetry to artists and friends from Maine to Florida to Japan, asking them to create a piece of art in response to her poems (a rhetorical device known as reverse ekphrasis). Works from the Treasure Trove artistry project, along with Kaplan’s poems, were on display at the Belfast Soup Kitchen earlier this summer. Kaplan and the group’s other members hope that the project will continue to inspire future participation from artists of all mediums — dance, theater and the visual arts.

For information or to request an accommodation, contact Abby Spooner at hutchinsoncenter@maine.edu. For more information about the Hutchinson Center’s H. Allen and Sally Fernald Art Gallery, visit hutchinsoncenter.umaine.edu.

“Another Day in the Underworld” by Maceo Bartlett.