Now fully reopened as the economic recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on, the Executive Director of the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie says even the darkest of times can provide a light of clarity.
Jeff Erbach says when the gallery closed, along with nearly everything else in March 2020, they relied heavily on digital presence to help keep up not only interest in the gallery but the spirits of those who love the arts. He adds they also realized more clearly their role in keeping a historical archive of major regional happenings.
“It brought a lot of things into focus for a lot of organizations, and for us, it was the primacy of being an art museum, of our responsibility and role of serving as a cultural archive,” he says.
“20 years from now, if you want to have a conversation about the pandemic and what it meant for people, there are art pieces that say that,” he adds.
Erbach believes as an organization invested in working directly with the community the art gallery must play a vital role in that conversation.
“If anything, just to be a place where people can feel reconnected to people,” he adds.
Erbach says, like the private sector, many not-for-profits went through real, extraordinary tribulations through the pandemic. He adds, as a location with free admission, they lean heavily on a healthy private sector to succeed.
“Often, folks like us as a free admission art museum rely on donations, memberships, community support, and that action can be as small as participating in our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or physically coming to look at [the] artwork,” he says.
More information on what exhibits are ongoing and upcoming can be found on the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie website.