In an early March email promoting his upcoming master of fine arts (MFA) show, the magnitude of the exhibition to UW–Madison graduate student Guzzo Pinc was clear.
“Of all the events I’ve put on over the past years this one means the most to me,” Pinc wrote to fellow students, faculty, and staff within the Art Department, and his friends, family, and fans of his artwork. “It represents the culmination of three years of work in the UW-Madison graduate painting program. I’ve never had a chance to really dedicate myself to my art without also having to split my time with full-time jobs. This show represents what I can do at my best. … I would love for you to celebrate this important evening with me.”
A few days later on March 11, due to growing public health concerns about COVID-19, the university announced that when spring break was over, there would be no face-to-face classes through at least April 10, with instruction moving to alternate delivery modes. The situation quickly spiraled from there. Less than a week later, face-to-face classes at UW–Madison were halted through the spring semester, significant limitations were put on public gatherings, and “social distancing” was now a common term.
Just like that, Pinc’s MFA show — scheduled for March 25 in Gallery 7 of the Humanities Building — joined the long list of canceled, in-person events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He sent an email to his followers to share the sad news.