CoLab MT+ Online Exhibition with Casondra Cunningham and Elizabeth Costigan

CoLab MT+ is born from the challenges of 2020, a  collaborative opportunity between artists to connect, examine, and ultimately create with one another during a disorienting time. The intention was to provide an opportunity and supportive platform for connection and dialogue between artist pairs, one based in Montana and one from outside of Montana, which has culminated in original artworks.


'In the year 2020, humanity faced great challenges  - from the COVID-19 pandemic to worldwide protests against racialized violence, environmental vulnerabilities, and growing disparities between the wealthy and the poor. 2020 upended ‘business as usual’ and prompted important considerations and questions - about the nature and importance of communication, contact, technology, the growing importance of local communities the impact of global actions, the ramifications of institutional narratives, and beyond.'


It was with great pleasure and excitement that myself, Casondra Cunningham (CA), and Elizabeth Costigan (MT) were selected to participate and paired together through OpenAirMT during the summer of 2020. We worked through our collective grief and isolation together, and also separately in our respective studio work, within this project framework.  We found that mail through the postal service was integral in this project, and also ironically part of the story of  instability during 2020, with government shutdowns and the unprecedented pressure put upon the USPS during election year and global pandemic.

We each ended up creating art using the letters and correspondence we exchanged throughout the summer. Below is the finished piece I created, a 'Dissent' collar and ode to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, using letters, drawings, stamps, and watercolors exchanged throughout the summer.  This necklace is built from Sterling Silver, solder, fire, acid, flux, paper, glue, and two-part resin. You can see our mailings, letters, and photos exchanged in Casondra's bound art book, and in the process of Elizabeth Costigan evolving her watercolor to represent this exchange in our part of the exhibit HERE. 

You can see the entire project alongside 16 other participating artists across the country, the collaborative gallery online through OpenAir HERE. A big thank you to Stoney Samsoe at OpenAir MT for making this project a success, and creating such a lovely way to bind art and community during a year that seemed devoid of both. 

 Read my interview with OpenAirMT about this collective project. 



Brought to you in tandem with CoLab MT and OpenAir MT, a 501c3 non-profit based out of Missoula, Montana. If this project revs your engine and you'd like to see more projects like it, consider donating to this amazing arts community and organization.  You can donate directly HERE. 



Leave a comment