A big spring turned into a very big year.

The coronavirus pandemic closed down our schools and so much else, but in other ways, like a lens it has focused our attention to things previously unnoticed, unseen, ignored, or assumed.

We have learned a new appreciation of our health care workers.

We’ve learned about all of those in working in crucial service jobs who were asked to take risks to their health and family to keep our lives running

We’ve seen the weaknesses of our healthcare and public health systems underlining the need for change.

It has shown us how intimately connected we all are – joined by our very breath – in every part of the globe.

And it has focused our attention on centuries old systemic white supremacy and injustice.

Bergen County was one of the early epicenters, and through our own discipline, the skill and dedication of our health care workers, and our community’s commitment to each other, we’ve been able to flatten the curve in our area. We are hopeful that we are on the rebound.

While quarantined, those of us who were not bound to essential work have had the chance to reexamine our priorities, to unplug, to find new ways to reconnect, to learn new skills, and for many of us, especially our young people – to take to the streets to find collective voice in calling for fundamental social change.

It is a time to take stock of what has happened, to document, to tell our stories and think together about where we are going.

Tim Blunk, Director, Gallery Bergen