HELENA — Many business owners have had to adapt because of the pandemic. One Helena gallery faced challenges when they had to shutter their classroom, but found a way to convert the space while also helping local artists.
1+1=1 Gallery in Helena used to have a classroom for kids and adults to learn art, but had to cancel classes due to the pandemic.
They also faced challenges when it came to holding their seventh annual Holiday Gift Show. To continue the show, and help connect artists with buyers during the holiday season, they went virtual and converted the classroom space to help fill online orders.
"I feel responsible actually for our artists,” says Maureen Shaughnessy, the co-owner of the gallery. “I want them to be supported as well. So, if I had canceled this show, if I hadn't figured out another way to do it, they wouldn't be getting checks in January."
About 50 artists are represented in this year’s holiday gift show. Going virtual has allowed the gallery to keep pace with 2019’s art show and give both the gallery and the artists a way to continue operating and creating through the challenges of 2020.
"We make a lot of our income during this one month of December, and it helps us get through the rest of the year," says Shaughnessy.
Shaughnessy admits they are surprised at the change of shopping habits they’ve had this year: "Most people come into an art gallery to look at the art, and occasionally, somebody buys a piece. This season, people are coming specifically looking for gifts and to buy."
Typically the gallery is closed for the month of January, but for 2021, the gallery will remain open to fulfill online orders and to continue the gift show.
Another thing to look forward to in 2021, the gallery is hopeful they can begin their art classes again in the spring.