Here it is, March 19th of 2021. My blog has been on hiatus, apparently, with only 2 posts in the whole year of 2020. The first was in March (almost exactly one year ago) and was a wonderful interview by Melanie Schow, posted on her blog and shared on mine. The second post of 2020 was in June and in it I shared “The Strangeness of the Last Three Months” as I detailed the first weeks and months of the pandemic and how it had affected my life, at home and at the gallery.
It is now time to “March Forward!” and bring you up to date on what has happened since then. Sequentially, it went something like this:
- March 20, 2020: the gallery closed due to the “Shelter in Place” order by California governor Newsome. I was closed from March till August, with no sales and no income.
- March 20th was the last day until I did a “soft reopening” with shortened days (3 instead of 5) and hours (3/day instead of 7) on August 13, 14, and 15. Visitors were mostly my “regulars”, with some new people exploring possibilities for re-entering a more normal life.
- August/September/October continued with abbreviated hours and few visitors. I was closed again from October 27th till November 11th and then open briefly for Small Business Saturday and Sunday on November 28th/29th.
- December saw short hours and and few shoppers through December 16th. Appointments were available for shoppers but no one took advantage of the offer. During this whole time I was visiting every day to water the plants and feed the 8-11 feral cats that depend on being fed.
- November and December were very strange months with virtually no shoppers or sales but it was a good thing business was slow because during that time we were putting our house on the market, packing and preparing to move after 29 years in the house at Belmont and Bethel. We needed to NOT have 2 acres of constant work any more and that’s what got us started looking.
- We found a perfect house in Wildwood Island, about 15 minutes east of where we were before. It’s about the same size but on a .2 acre lot and much more manageable. The neighborhood is amazing and we are getting settled in nicely.
- “Mixed Messages” Art reopened on March 4th and I see signs that people are now starting to venture out with their masks and their newly acquired Covid vaccines and I predict things will slowly return to what came to be known as “normal” before 2020. I look forward to reconnecting with my previous customers and getting to know new ones, over time, in the upcoming months. I’m slowly catching up and gearing up and I can hardly wait to start painting in full force again. I have a lot of paintings waiting to pour out, I can tell.
- So, that’s where we are on March 19th, 2021–tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of the first closure last year. The gallery and I are still “alive and well” and eager to see you all again soon.
Last year, I was discouraged and even accused by a person or 2 of being a “Debby Downer” and those of you who know me, know that isn’t me. It was a long, tough year for everyone and small business owners were filled with day to day financial anxiety and fear of having to close their businesses. I feel lucky to be still open and luckier yet to have a great customer base and I am eager to get back to “work” (which I call “play”) and follow a new sense of direction.
My priorities have changed a bit and you may see more “flexible” hours this year because of that change. But I’m always available by appointment, most usually even on the days that I am supposedly closed. I will try to serve Sanger and surrounding communities as best I can from my “small town, jewel box of an art gallery” that I am so lucky to have. Remember: “Art is Life, and Life is Art!” (according to Yoko Ono). We need to all enjoy, acknowledge, support, participate in, and encourage it in ourselves and in others on a regular basis.
How have YOU survived the pandemic?
What was your most effective tool to stay sane?
Are you, too, ready to “March Forward!” in 2021?