found the space.
historic building. historic neighbourhood.
a 60 foot wall.
signed the lease beginning of december 2019.
and were set to open april 1st, 2020.
simple as that.
of course we didn’t open in april.
the province went into lockdown and our opening was delayed. we carried on as though things were fine. everyday coming into the gallery – hanging our first shows – Shaman, Transformation and Spirits in Inuit Art and Meelia Kelly – A Selection of Drawings.
those shows stayed up from april to november. (we became so used to the Meelia Kelly’s being in the back viewing area that we now call that space Meelia)
there was a Protest Pop-Up to mix things up for the neighbourhood folks who happened to drop by.
we stopped putting dates on our posters. gave up hope for openings. getting deliveries on time. a fixed schedule. regular gallery hours.
we did manage an event on September 4th – the lockdown over. combined with a loosening of the restrictions. First Fridays helped get the word out and we had an ‘opening’ for the Shaman show – 5 months after we hung it.
we had to bring in extra people to help with guideline compliance. boxes of masks. hand sanitizer. we took contact information and kept everyone 6 feet apart.
it was exhausting. stressful. and a lot of fun.
there was a line up. some folks waited over an hour to get in. and we didn’t leave the gallery until about 2 in the morning.
november was a new show – Everyday. we hung it and went into another lockdown a couple of days later. no one saw that show. not really. it was a heart-breaker.
we held it over when the lockdown ended, but the restrictions were still, well, restrictive.
the lockdown continued over the winter. we did a lot of running out, climbing over mountains of snow for curb-side pickups! we wrapped a lot of packages. and got to know our post office clerks very well.
we shopped local. we bought local. we ate local.
in the spring we hung fantastic drawings by Kingmeata Etidoolie from the 1980’s. And last month we hung a new show – Brad Bamford – The Map Is Not the Territory. Which opened on Friday and on Saturday night the province went into another lockdown. i kid you not!
(or a kind of lockdown, as we are allowed to open to 10% capacity)
1 year open. 3 lockdowns. if you figure it out, which we’ve had time to do – we have been closed about the exact amount we’ve been open in our first year. and we’ve never opened the doors at 100% capacity. never opened the doors without some sort of restrictions. and for most of our time, we’ve only ever seen our clients eyes. (and their bodies!)
there were a lot of things that just didn’t happen. no photography show. workshop. no sculptural jewelry show. nothing with object art.
here we are. a year in.
and the truth is, we have no idea what is going to happen.
no idea. at all.