Viewing the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie’s annual art auction is looking quite different this year, as the exhibition has moved entirely online. A first in the museum’s 40-year history, Executive Director Jeff Erbach says like many other functions this year, the cause for change is centered around COVID-19.
Despite the new medium for display and bidding, however, Erbach says those who are interested or simply curious can see the art in person until November 5th.
“Seeing them live makes an extraordinary difference to just seeing the image so we definitely encourage people to come and see the pieces in person,” he says. “We have a really extraordinary arts community and I sort-of characterize it this way… art is very prevalent in the Peace Region.”
Erbach adds as a free admission museum, the art gallery relies heavily upon the auction every year to be able to maintain that status.
“Through the online art auction, people have an incredible opportunity to see work not just from local artists, but also national ones. We’re a fairly significant museum, and so we’re also able to attract work from across the country.”
“We don’t have a lot of earned revenue potential as a free admission museum and so despite that our social and cultural outcomes are incredibly broad… Many other charitable non-profits, when they’re holding auctions, they’re also working closely with artists,” he says.
Erbach notes much of the rich local art community in the Grande Prairie area extends beyond the museum, particularly into public and street art, as well as large murals.
“Art is sort-of infused into a lot of the social fabric of what’s happening here in the Peace Region.”
The online auction began Monday and runs until Saturday.