A “surprising” summer for art galleries

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For some art galleries in Old Quebec, sales to foreign tourists represented up to 75% of sales before the pandemic. With confinement and closed borders, gallery owners were therefore expecting a catastrophic summer. But the exact opposite has happened.

Some art galleries broke sales records this summer thanks to an abundant tourist clientele in Quebec.

This is the case, among others, of the Quebec Art and Douce Passion galleries, located at Place Royale. The owner of the two galleries, France Marcotte, reports a 10% increase in turnover compared to last summer.

The gallerists of Old Quebec contacted by Le Journal explain, with one voice, that tourists from Quebec, Montreal and Canada have made up for the lack of international clientele.

Quebec tourists have bet on works of art despite the pandemic.

“These are not the sales we expected. It's surprising, ”comments the co-owner of Galerie Perreault, Rafaël Perreault.

“I broke records in August,” recounts the owner of the Galerie Zen, Esther Garneau.

The owner of Galeries Beauchamp, Vincent Beauchamp, did not expect figures “as strong” either.

However, the good traffic was not sufficient for all the galleries. The owner of the Urbania Gallery, rue Saint-Paul, decided not to renew the gallery's lease in July due to the difficulties linked to the pandemic. Kathie Robitaille now confides in relying entirely on her virtual gallery, which continues its activities with innovative and creative projects.

Galerie Beauchamp did not expect such good results.

A new clientele

Otherwise, the other gallery owners in Old Quebec were able to observe this summer the renewal of their clientele, many of whom were young people who were making their first purchase of works of art.

“I have a lot of young couples who told me that they have dreamed of having a work of art for a long time, that they have traveled less, so they are spoiling themselves,” emphasizes Esther Garneau.

“What people told me is: I should be traveling, and I'm coming to spoil myself, also reports France Marcotte. We often heard that, as also the fact that people wanted to redecorate their homes because of teleworking. ”

“Yes, there are a lot of new clients, and young clients. That's very good news. And people have understood the message to buy local, they come for Quebec painters, ”says Rafaël Perreault.

An autumn in the unknown

That said, gallery owners are anticipating the cold season which is fast approaching.

“It fell quiet, remarks Esther Garneau. Usually, at this time of year, we have a lot of cruise passengers. If the weather is good, it will help us. But it is a big question mark as to which clientele we will have this fall. ”

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