Portraits Of the Pandemic


An Exhibition of Self-Portraits by Local Artists

OCTOBER 24, 2020 – FEBRUARY 7, 2021



Portraits of the Pandemic is an exhibition of 61 self-portraits made during the pandemic by 50 artists in Dubuque and surrounding counties in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The exhibition is inspired by the Stay Home, Make Art movement with the goal of helping local artists remain visible during the pandemic and to share their work with the wider community. It also aims to examine how the pandemic and the subsequent effects to our social and physical interactions have reshaped our lives.

Sooner or later, every artist turns to the mirror for a subject. Artist Frida Kahlo, while convalescing from a terrible injury, once said, “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.” As the nation went into quarantine in March 2020, life for many in the Tri-State area was abruptly reduced to their immediate surroundings. Business closures and the sudden shift to more people being home day and night affected us all to some degree. During this protracted period of uncertainty, isolation, and controversy around the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many must look inward for ways to stave off boredom, depression, frustration, or fear, DUMA called on our local artists to submit a work that represented their personal experience. Through the works in the exhibition and the artists’ personal reflections, we can address and gain a deeper understanding of our own experiences and thoughts of the time.

Since June, the museum has featured many of the portraits in a dynamic virtual exhibition. This exhibition brings together a wide selection of those works. Moreover, everyone who submitted their work is represented in the exhibition, highlighting the importance of including everyone’s experience during this time.

Exhibiting artists include:

Megan Andress, (Dubuque, Iowa); Maureen Bardusk (Galena, Illinois); Peggy Jo Brekke (Dubuque, Iowa); Paul Chase (Galena, Illinois); Gail Chavenelle (Dubuque, Iowa); Barbara L. Collins (Dubuque, Iowa); Judith Crandall (Monona, Iowa); RoseAnn Derks (Dubuque, Iowa); Sammi Digman (Galena, Illinois); Mike Doland (Dubuque, Iowa); Dave Eischeid (Bellevue, Iowa); Britni Farber (Dubuque, Iowa); Robert Felderman (Dubuque, Iowa); Delores Fortuna (Galena, Illinois); Alan Garfield (Dubuque, Iowa); Andonia Giannakouros (Dubuque, Iowa); Barbara Arnold Heitzman (Dubuque, Iowa); Rabecca Jayne Hennessey (Guttenberg, Iowa); Zoe Hermsen (Dubuque, Iowa); Alda Kaufman (Dubuque, Iowa); Bailey Keimig-Gehrke (Dubuque, Iowa); Nancy Kenney (Galena, Illinois); Jan Lavacek (Galena, Illinois); Sue Lemon (Dubuque, Iowa); Ioana Mamali (Dubuque, Iowa); Randy Mesch (Dubuque, Iowa); Nacole Meyermiller (Dubuque, Iowa); Thérèse Mulgrew (Peosta, Iowa); Gregory T. Nelson (Dubuque, Iowa); Heather Noethe (Dubuque, Iowa); Nicole O'Brien (Strawberry Point, Iowa); Tim Olson (Dubuque, Iowa); Deb Otto (Dubuque, Iowa); Chloe Peil (Dubuque, Iowa); Stacy Peterson (Dubuque, Iowa); Andrew Raeside (Dubuque, Iowa); Robert H. Rivoire (Galena, Illinois); Jacob Robertson (Dubuque, Iowa); Wendy S. Rolfe (Peosta, Iowa); Kay Schroeder (Dubuque, Iowa); Henry Ralph Schroeder, (Dubuque, Iowa); Abby Schrup (Dubuque, Iowa); Joslyn Shireman, (Dubuque, Iowa); Gary Stoppelman (Dubuque, Iowa); Lisa Towers (Dubuque, Iowa); Hana Tysver Velde, Rian, and Mica (Dubuque, Iowa); Angela Ventris (Dubuque, Iowa); and Mark Weiland (Dubuque, Iowa)

Online Gallery:

My Experience:

You can still be part of the virtual exhibition! What has your experience been like during the pandemic?

Art History's Response to Crisis

In light of the current global pandemic, let us look at the visual images past and present that artists have produced during times of plague, war, economic hardships and social injustice. Perhaps in their work we can find understanding about our current situation.

Art's Role in a Time of Crisis

Art can play different roles in helping us through times of crisis. What role, if any, does art play in helping you through difficult times?


Premier Bank

Schoen Family Charitable Trust

Image credits: 
Gail Chavenelle, Masked Metal, steel, 18 x 12 inches
Gregory T. Nelson, Self-Portrait: Surrounded by the Virus in Quarantine, digital drawing on paper, 20 x 16 inches
Wendy S. Rolfe, Self Portrait, oil on panel, 47 x 40 inches