PROMPT: a love letter to the arts community


A postcard is a written and visual medium. As correspondence, it’s a message to the recipient that their thoughts cross the boundaries of distance, memory, history and obsession. It’s a “prompt” for communication.

Before his death at 81 in 2017, Chico artist Peter Jodaitis collected thousands of postcards from around the world. Four years later, local artists and writers collaborated to create art based on postcards from Jodaitis’ personal collection. Ellen Walker, his widow and longtime member of the 1078 Gallery, donated much of his collection for the gallery to display as they pleased. 

Two women view Simon Asterion’s “The mountain and the sea, love letters.” Photo credit: Michaela Harris

Over the summer, 30 artists were given five random postcards to create a written and visual piece for the exhibition. The collection includes a quilt display, a sculpture, flash fiction and collages. His art and memory are reflected in pieces made by his friends, but PROMPT is a tribute to Jodaitis’ spirit and his impact on the Chico arts community. 

“We wanted to do something that would honor the spirit of the way Peter Jodaitis thought about image, his playfulness, his devotion to process, more than an homage to his artwork directly,” 1078 Curator Sarah Pape said. 

PROMPT’s creative direction allowed the artists and authors involved to freely explore the exhibit’s written and visual themes. Chico State English professor Rob Davidson’s flash fiction and nonfiction are displayed alongside the cards assigned to him. As a writer and friend of Jodaitis, Davidson sought to finish an imagined collaboration. 

“He [Jodaitis] made the initial gesture of selecting the cards, then I made the next gesture of extending and making a piece of literary art,” Davidson said. 

Visitors view various pieces from PROMPT. Photo credit: Michaela Harris

Though not a direct tribute, Davidson’s work aligns heavily with PROMPT’s goal to honor Jodaitis’ influence.

Visual artist Erin Lizardo used Jodaitis’s samples to tackle themes of identity through physical and digital art. “Pat-a-cake” is a wheel-like collage of postcards that assign the subject a new face with each turn.

Lizardo’s digital piece “Variations on Jeune Finlandaise via Sonia Delaunay” depicts a grid of photos that splash waves of color on the model’s face. Each photo shows changing colors that accentuate different features of her face much like Delaunay’s original portrait. Lizardo did not know Jodaitis, but she took this project as an opportunity to contribute to the Chico arts community.

PROMPT presents a multitude of thought-provoking and contemporary pieces from artists of all backgrounds. The exhibit is open during gallery hours Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., until Sept. 26. The gallery will present their annual members show on Sept. 27.

Michaela Harris can be reached at [email protected] and @MichaelaRH21 on Twitter.

#arts #poetry #1078 Gallery