Seasoned teacher Amy Alley says the world as she knew it “came to a grinding halt” in the early days of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“March 13, 2020, was the last day that what I referred to as ‘normal life’ carried on,” Alley said. “When schools shut down, it was unprecedented. ... Everything changed for me.”

Now, entering a third year of the pandemic, Alley said the layered charcoal art she created in 2020 is still relevant.

“Now, the works I created in 2020 are points of reflection,” Alley said. “The viewer owns the meaning of each work. I really have not shown these to anybody. I’m interested to see how college students at Lander receive these. They have not had a normal college experience. Working on this series took me through the leap moving from realism to abstraction.”

Alley said the idea of a nest emerges in several of the charcoal drawings.

“I put one of the pieces outside,” Alley said. “The rain beat it so hard that it blended the charcoal and put a hole in the paper. I went back into it once it dried. Not only do we have the power to change nature. Nature has the power to change us. ... I put the pieces away for about a year and came back to them.

“I felt like I, we, were not yet ready to look at the pandemic with the eyes of survivors,” Alley said.

Alley is a teacher in the special education department at Greenwood High School. Before that change in teaching paths, Alley taught visual art in schools. She lives in Greenwood but is from Abbeville.

She’s an award-winning artist as well as a freelance writer, author, poet, educator and parent.

“I have plenty to keep me busy at home, but a lot of people struggled with that during the pandemic,” Alley said. “What do we do with our time when we can’t do the things we normally do? Everybody went through this differently. ... I remember reading an article where a scientist projected we would be dealing with the pandemic in 2022, and I thought, ‘No way. How bizarre.’ But it sure enough is still here.”

Amy Alley’s pandemic art series is on view in the Starbuck’s on Lander University’s campus, 329 Lawson St., through the end of February.

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 4:30 to 11 p.m.

Art in the show is 16x20 framed and for sale. Pieces are abstracts in charcoal. This marks Alley’s first solo exhibition locally in several years. Visit

Contact St. Claire Donaghy at 864-943-2518.