The Kootenay Gallery has moved a couple of exhibitions online as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Facebook photo

Kootenay Gallery of Art changes operations during COVID-19 crisis

Putting exhibitions online and creating new virtual gift store some ways the gallery is coping

The Kootenay Gallery of Art, History and Science has had to change much of its operations since closing in early March due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Executive director Val Field said the gallery has moved two of its exhibitions online so people can access them from the safety of their homes.

One exhibition, called After Eden, is a joint collaboration between artists Stephanie Kellett and Robert Livingood and explores the eerie wilderness settings of northern Canada.

“The exhibition is a reaction to their recent visit to the Yukon and how they were impacted around how few animals they saw. A video in the exhibition portrays that,” said Field.

“The exhibition also showcases paintings of some Yukon animals, which are quite ghostly.”

The second exhibition called Anima was created by Kootenay artist Lydia Miller. It showcases artwork that she has created while living in Victoria.

“This is a 3D exhibition that showcases sculptures she’s made completely out of organic material,” said Field. “Some material she’s used includes sea wood and branches. Her artwork is quite lovely.”

The gallery is also in the process of creating an online gift store to boost its revenue streams.

“We’re putting around 25 to 30 artists and their artwork online. That includes things like pottery, jewellery and woodwork pieces,” said Field.

The process has been time consuming, particularly since each item has to be weighed, measured and photographed before it can be put online.

The gallery will be promoting the online store on Facebook, Instagram and its website once it launches in the next couple of weeks.

The gallery’s physical store has also remained partially open for pick-up orders for its members.

Field said she and her other staff member have also adjusted their operations during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Up until this point, we’ve been working alternate days in order to avoid each other and keep each other safe,” said Field. “A work-share program that we are on has also cut our own hours by half.”

Despite the hardships, Field said the community has been rallying behind the gallery to help it get through this difficult time.

“We’ve found that our funders have been stepping up. The B.C. Arts Council has given us a one time payment and a cash advance on the annual amount that we get from them,” said Field. “We are also anticipating more federal funding as well.”

You can learn more about the art gallery’s exhibitions by visiting its website.

The West Kootenay SPCA branch and the Castlegar Library are other local organizations that have had to drastically change their service models during the crisis.

READ MORE: Kootenay Gallery of Art offers hand-made gifts


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