New zine features pandemic art

In April, it became clear that the annual Pekar Park Comics and Art Festival, a summer tradition in Coventry Village, would have to be canceled or rescheduled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. While disappointing, the cancellation gave Adult Services Librarian John Piche and Adult Services Associate Kate Atherton an idea.

“We thought it would be really interesting to see how the shutdown would be interpreted by our artist friends and colleagues,” said Piche, who draws a comic strip, “Magnesium Sisters.” “Let’s see how our local artists are handling this pandemic, and ask them to tell their quarantine stories in comics form.”

Heights Libraries staff reached out to artists who had exhibited at the comics and art festival in the past, asking for “a 1­­­­–4 page story, comic, illustration or photo essay of a project you have been working on while in quarantine.”

The community’s artists delivered, and the result is “Quarantine Zine, Volume 1,” a collection of art and comics made by local visual artists during Ohio’s shelter-in-place order.

Atherton, also an artist, collected the work and created the publication, a 14-page, black-and-white zine that can be downloaded from Heights Libraries’ website, at https://heightslibrary.org/coronazine-2020-05.

Featured artists are Bryn Adams, Kate Atherton, Lindsey Bryan, Francis Collins, Jed Collins, Paula Friedman, Craig Lindsley, Sevita Lochan, Noelle Richard, and Christina Turner.

Atherton hopes to distribute hard copies of the publication for free sometime in the near future, when Heights Libraries’ opening is further along. “We were so sad we had to cancel the comics festival, but out of that disappointment came this really beautiful artwork,” said Atherton. “Now we have a creative piece that documents this time, and can be added to the Library’s zine collection—a small, silver lining.”

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