The 18th Street Arts Center is helping artists display their work along Airport Ave. Courtesy photos.

Like many facets of life, the arts have been severely disrupted since the start of the pandemic. But 35 local artists have come together to “De-Fence Art.”

Curated by Italian visual artist Luigia Gio Martelloni, “De-Fence Art (Art in the Time of Isolation)” is a new exhibition located on the fence outside 3026 Airport Avenue in Santa Monica. The art, which encompasses a wide range of mediums like painting, sculpture and photography, is now available for drive-by or socially-distanced viewing, according to 18th Street Arts Center Deputy Director Sue Bell Yank, who said the artwork will hang until June 30.

18th Street Arts Center has recently been hosting Zoom meetings to allow artists a chance to share any potential opportunities or ways they are dealing with the current crisis. “And this installation was really an idea that came from Luigia, and we were so happy to help support it,” Yank said. “It’s not the typical kind of organized exhibition, but it’s something that came very organically from our community and is something that we feel is worth getting out and seeing during this time in real space.”

Martelloni added Friday, while she helped others hang their creations, that she got the idea for the fence-related project while she was walking around her block in Santa Monica.

While confined to her home for the last couple of weeks, Martelloni said she has noticed how nature hasn’t stopped growing.

“No matter what is happening out in the world, this beautiful thing is always hoping to grow. Even if nothing is there, it’s still growing with the hope that its flower will open,” Martelloni said. “And I thought, metaphorically, that art is like nature; it never stops. It’s always going.”

So, Martelloni proposed that she and the other artists craft pieces that show how art cannot be contained. But Martelloni also hoped to stir up more empathy and awareness for the planet as well as what’s going on in the world with Covid — and now George Floyd.

“This situation has everyone in the world living in lockdown. And this is what actually makes us united,” Martelloni said, mentioning it’s important to take a moment in life and reflect on how we can affect change for the betterment of everybody. And she hopes that is what the installation will allow residents to do when they drive by and see the various works in-person.

“We have to see what’s going on and somehow, even though we’re in isolation, find ways to connect to humanity,” Martelloni said. “We can’t forget this, and that’s why I started this project — so we can embrace humanity and embrace nature. That was my goal and I hope the silver lining from this lockdown is it expands our creativity and leaves us with more empathy and awareness for our planet.”