Art galleries écopent also of the current crisis. Even if they have not received instructions required to put the key under the door, all the gallery owners contacted by The Journal, Thursday, have decided to voluntarily shut down in the last few hours, anticipating significant financial losses for them and the artists they represent.
“We farm because it is dangerous to the health of employees”, explained, at the other end of the wire, Vincent Beauchamp, owner of a dozen art galleries across Canada, himself in quarantine because he returns from the trip.
“At the beginning of the week, it was filled with tourists in the gallery of the Old city. Tourists who had not something else to do, everything is closed. They interact with the employees, they jasent, they cough. The employees were afraid”, he added.
Vincent Beauchamp confesses that he prefers not to think of the financial losses that he himself will cash, but also the dozens of artists he represents. “Me, I think we will lose at least two months in the year,” he says, noting that 50 per cent of its customers in Old Quebec and is composed of tourists.
The other gallery owners contacted expect, also, to a period of “destructive” which will last several weeks, has mentioned, among others, Alex Leibner, the director of the Gallery D’este, Montreal, who was preparing Thursday to close its doors for an indefinite period.
“If people lose their job, buy works of art is not the priority,” has raised Laura Barcia, director of the galerie Lacerte Art Contemporain, located on Saint-Laurent boulevard in Montreal.
In reflection to know what strategy it will adopt, the gallery owner Kathie Robitaille, gallery, Urbania, in le Vieux-Québec, was trying Thursday to find the best solutions for the quarantine of the artists it represents. “These are big financial losses”, she commented, disheartened at the situation.
Many art galleries will remain open on appointment. “But I do not expect to have a lot of them,” said the director of the gallery d’este.
In Quebec, the Gallery 3 also continues make an appointment with collectors and curators, “those with whom one already has a business relationship, says the co-owner Abdelilah Chiguer. Not for groups and not for fun either. We want to provide a place that will be safe for everyone.”
To survive the crisis, he believes that it is necessary to “transform the relationship” with the customer. “It is more online and by phone. We are going to continue, but in a different way,” said the one who had invested in the redesign of the website of the gallery in the last few months.
Also, a lot of galleries are promoting on the social networks, of their collections available online. “It is necessary to keep in contact with our customer base”, underlines Lyne Parent, owner of the Galerie Blanche in Montreal, and whose reserve of about 200 works can be found online.
This last, a gallery owner for many years, brings a bit of hope in the face of the situation.
“It is necessary to let pass the time for people to adapt to the new situation, before they return to buying. I have spent the recession of 2008. There was no one at the gallery. The days were very long. At a given moment, it is gone and the sales exploded. I’m sure that this is the same scenario that will happen.”