Pandemic: The Art of Survival


Detail from "Refuge" by Judy Thompson.

The Center for Western Studies seeks proposals for Pandemic: The Art of Survival, a gallery exhibition featuring artwork created during a year like no other. The exhibition will run March 1, 2021, through May 28, 2021, in the Madsen/Nelson/Elmen Galleries of the CWS Fantle Building. 

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down. Facing deaths, hospitalizations, and a shattered economy, it has been difficult to find any light in such dark times.

Artists across our region saw opportunities disappear as museums went dark, exhibitions were postponed, art shows were canceled, and patrons weary of the economic downturn delayed purchases. But even in the darkest of times, art always finds a way to survive. Whether it was learning a new technique, teaching a workshop, or just starting a project  lack of time, artists found ways to continue their work of making the world better.

To all Northern Plains artistswe want to see what you were working on during the pandemic!

All the artwork in this exhibition will have been created between March 2020 and March 2021. The work can comment on the pandemic (any aspect of it) or be one you worked on during the pandemic. The only parameters are that it must have been completed since March 2020. 

Artists interested in exhibiting works must complete an Application Form, including the title(s), dimensions, price(s) (if for sale), and a sample image of the work(s). Please submit the form and image(s) to Education Assistant Kristi Thomas, Center for Western Studies, 2001 S. Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD, 57197,, no later than Friday, January 29, 2021.


  • January 29: Applications due (including photographs of completed works)
  • February 12: Notifications of exhibition acceptance
  • February 22: Delivery deadline of accepted works (works can be delivered earlier and stored for the exhibition, all artwork must arrive ready to be displayed)
  • March 1 - May 28: Exhibition dates

ELIGIBILITY: Artists may submit up to five pieces for consideration in the exhibition.


  • Work(s) must be the original work of the artist submitting it for consideration. Unoriginal works will not be accepted.
  • Work(s) must have been completed between March 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021. If submitting a proposal of a work in progress, an image of the work in progress and a projection of when the work will be completed must be included as part of the application.
  • Work(s) should be appropriate for a wide viewing audience. 
  • CWS reserves the right to accept or deny pieces based on quality and content. 


Accepted works will be displayed as submitted. Artists have the additional option of selling their work. Please include price when submitting art for sale. All exhibit sales will be handled through the CWS Gift Shop, and a 30% commission will be collected by CWS for all works sold as a result of the exhibition. Please price artwork with the commission deduction in mind. All scheduling, freight costs, and delivery/pick-up charges will be the responsibility of the artist.

DELIVERY OF ARTWORK: Works accepted for the show can be delivered directly to the Center for Western Studies, 2121 S. Summit Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD, 57197, during regular business hours, Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Special delivery arrangements can be made upon request. Works can also be shipped to:
Kristi Thomas, Education Assistant
Center for Western Studies
Augustana University
2001 S. Summit Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57197

Works must be delivered (or arrive) by February 22, but they can be delivered earlier and stored for the exhibition. All artwork must arrive ready to be displayed.

EVENT CONTACT: Please contact CWS Education Assistant Kristi Thomas for questions or clarification: or 605.274.4005.