Instructor Heather Sandy Earns First Place in Art Competition, Has Piece Accepted for Cedarhurst Biennial Show

Artwork Depicting People Walking With The COVID Virus surrounding them
Jul 29, 2021

Olney Central College Instructor Heather Sandy’s artwork, Protect and Respect, won first place in the 2021 Art for Health and Unity Competition sponsored by Unity in Action Magazine in Champaign.

Sandy used both Procreate, an iPad app, and Adobe Illustrator to create the digital piece, which features four individuals walking together as the COVID-19 virus lurks in the background.

“This piece was created for the community of Champaign, which is a place I hold near to my heart,” Sandy said. “It is important to me to create an inclusive environment within my artwork, in which I aim to include diverse representation. I want my artwork to reflect the diversity of contemporary America, which means broadening the scope of representation beyond art historical traditions.”

Sandy’s work was displayed in a Virtual Art Show held during the Art, Science and Democracy Festival in Champaign. Protect and Respect will be used in marketing public health safety in the Champaign community.

“I am certainly happy and grateful to receive first place,” Sandy said. “I am excited that the community will see my artwork, as it is my hope that Protect and Respect will serve as a reminder to the public that we still need to consider our role in the pandemic and continue protecting and respecting others. Once the pandemic hopefully subsides, we certainly still need to continue protecting and respecting others and lifting up historically underrepresented people and groups.”

Another of Sandy’s pieces, The Floor is COVID, has been accepted into the 29th annual Cedarhurst Biennial juried show in Mt. Vernon.

The Floor is COVID is a combination of digital artwork and hand coloring. The line art was created in both Procreate and Adobe Illustrator. The image was hand colored using alcohol ink.

“This piece takes place on the Fourth of July and depicts one of my sisters exploring a sparkler in the backyard,” Sandy said. “COVID looms in the garden, but she is too busy to notice the impending threat.”

The exhibit will open Aug. 7 at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, with awards to be presented that day. The show will run through Oct. 10.

“The art world is certainly difficult. I may enter 10 shows and get accepted to two or three,” Sandy said. “I’m honored to have work accepted into the Cedarhurst Biennial. This particular piece took me roughly 40 hours to create, so I’m glad for it to travel a bit, see the world, and meet new people.”

Sandy said both Protect and Respect and The Floor is COVID were inspired by her personal experiences as an artist during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have always had an interest in depicting the landscape, and during the pandemic I’ve noticed how much transformation has occurred in our physical and emotional sense of place due to the ‘invisible villain’ of COVID,” she said. “In this series, I depict the virus quite literally as an oversized malicious force in hopes that if people could see the virus being transmitted, they would more carefully consider their role in preventing transmission.”