The Quesnel Art Gallery has reopened to the public and will be featuring a new show Artists In Isolation beginning Thursday, July 2.
The show features work from nine local artists, most of which was created during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and will run through the month of July.
Gallery director Marguerite Hall says she began to put together the show immediately after being given the green light to reopen the gallery so that local artists could begin to show their work as quickly as possible.
“When we found out that we could finally reopen I immediately thought of the artists,” said Hall. “This is the only venue that they have to show their work in Quesnel and it’s been closed for so long, so I wanted to immediately reach out to our local artists and let them know that we would like to do a show called Artists In Isolation just as a jump-start to get them back into showing their work.”
Along with their art, the featured artists have written statements as to how the pandemic has affected their work and artistic process which will be displayed in the gallery.
In order to comply with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, the gallery will only be allowing nine patrons into the space at any given time, with the gallery being limited to seven individuals and the gift shop to two. Visitors are asked to enter through the gallery, follow the markings on the floor to ensure one way foot traffic and exit through the gift shop. Hand sanitizer will be available to the public both at the entrance and exit of the gallery.
Hall says that the show will also serve as a “practice run” as the gallery directors figure out exactly how best to put on shows for the public while adhering to all provincial health and safety guidelines put in place due to COVID-19.
“We would like to find out what other galleries around the province and country are doing whether it’s outdoor showing or tours through the gallery we will investigate many different things so that we can represent our artists as well as we can moving forward,” said Hall.
Gallery director Cyndi Cassidy says she is very happy to be able to reopen the gallery and begin to put on shows for the public however, she is worried that due to COVID-19 the galleries annual holiday show the Beaux Arts Bazaar, which brings in the majority of the galleries income for the year, may not be as well attended as previous years.
“It’s something we have to take into consideration,” said Cassidy. “I’m not so much worried about the summer because we tend to have moderate numbers in the summer time, what I am worried about is our Beaux Arts Bazaar in November and December which is probably where we get 70 per cent of our income for the year.”
One way the gallery is hoping to make up some of that lost income is by launching an online store on their website which will eventually showcase and sell all the art featured in the gallery as well as the items in the gift shop.
Currently the galleries online store offers the “most unique card selection in all of Quesnel” according to Hall, with more items and art to be added over the summer.
Hall says she believes that the closure of the gallery left a “hole in the community” and that being able to bring art back to the residents of Quesnel is incredibly important.
“I think that the quality of a community is reflected in the arts, whether it’s musical or visual or dance arts, through being creative that’s what makes us,” said Hall. “We have a job, we earn money but what makes life valuable is our ability to be creative in whatever way we choose and to appreciate creativity.”
The Quesnel Art Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the Artists In Isolation show running for the rest of July. Up to date information on current and future shows can be found on the galleries website at www.quesnelartgallery.ca.