Artist Tanya Bone’s ‘Spring Has Sprung’ is now on display in The Avenue gallery in Oak Bay. The pandemic crisis has shortened hours and forced galleries to either close or show painting by appointment only but sales are still tricky ing said Heather Wheeler, owner of The Avenue. (Tanya Bone Art)

Art galleries innovate in a time of crisis

The pandemic crisis has forced most local art galleries to shift online, and while it’s not the same experience, it’s all they can do until it’s safe for patrons to browse the storefronts again.

The Avenue Art Gallery in Oak Bay is still showing paintings by appointment but only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The gallery is otherwise open for phone sales from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and online.

“We can’t allow clients in so we are meeting them at the door, but everything in the gallery is actually on the website,” said owner Heather Wheeler. “Our artists are continuing to deliver and ship new work to the gallery which we will be sharing on our website and via our semi-monthly newsletters and on social media.”

Sales have dropped to about 10 per cent since the recent call for non-essential businesses to close in an attempt to flatten the curve and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Wheeler said.

“For us, what it is like now is the same for everyone,” Wheeler said. “We are dealing with the shock of the situation and the knowledge this will be going on for longer than at first thought, not a two-week thing.”

The good news for The Avenue and other galleries is they’ve maintained a business presence through their website and the advent of e-commerce programs for small business.

“We have had people taking advantage of online sales and we hand over the product at the door,” Wheeler said. “We do book appointments to come in, one person at a time.”

Other galleries are in a similar situation.

Madrona Gallery on View Street downtown is also open by appointment only and available daily by email or phone to assist with acquisitions and answer questions. Madrona is now featuring the Miller Collection, a selection of Inuit art carvings collected over the span of 30 years by the Miller family of Vancouver, including such artists as Pauta Saila.

Other galleries are looking to innovate, such as the Gage Gallery’s community project “Challenge Crisis with Creativity.”

The gallery is inviting members of the community to draw, paint, doodle, sculpt or write a poem at home about what they are experiencing during the social isolation period of COVID-19.

Everybody is welcome to contribute, said Gage member Gabriella Hirt.

“Take a photo of your creation and send it to us. If you wish, provide a short description of your work. Invite your kids to participate. Our weekly prompt will help you get inspired.”

Send contributions to Ashley Riddett, a University of Victoria Art History and Visual Studies graduate student who is leading the project. ​

Entries will be published on the Gage Gallery website and social media sites, and when “this” is all over, the collective is planning to compile selected submissions into a community art book.

It will show, and tell, the visual story of how people in Oak Bay and Victoria all have been coping, thriving and surviving during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Send a photo of your creation to Riddett at riddettgreen@gmail.com.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

E.J. Hughes’ View of a Freighter - Cowichan Bay is one of the works currently at Madrona Gallery.

Just Posted

Retiring local politicians Carole James and Andrew Weaver will receive annual payouts estimated at $87,000 and $34,000, respectively, under the pension plan for outgoing MLAs in B.C., according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. (Black Press Media file photos)
Taxpayer watchdog howling over outgoing MLAs’ pension payouts

Carole James, Andrew Weaver among Island MLAs whose pensions are calculated by taxpayers federation

Sooke’s Paul Larouche gold snipes along Sooke River, a process in which he uses a mask and snorkel to find pieces of gold. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Hitting the jackpot: Sooke man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

BC Ferries vessel Skeena Queen pulls into the dock at Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island. (Black Press File Photo).
BC Ferries faces calls for improved reliability on Swartz Bay-Fulford Harbour route

Recent mechanical breakdown resulted in sailing cancellations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Commissioner Austin Cullen looks at documents before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
RCMP lacked dedicated team to investigate illegal activities at casino, inquiry hears

Hearings for the inquiry are set to continue into next week and the inquiry is expected to wrap up next year

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Court approves money for B.C. foster children alleging harm from Kelowna social worker

The maximum combined total award for basic payments and elevated damages for an individual is $250,000

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

Most Read