Artist Wendy Waddell’s exhibition called Art Within Crisis, is the first show at the Mission gallery in 10 months. / Submitted Photo

Mission art gallery re-opens after 10 months

'People are in need of some visual things just to take them away'

It’s been a tough year for the local arts community. However, there is some good news on the horizon.

The Mission Arts Council has announced that it has re-opened the Rock Family Gallery, which has been shut since March of 2020 due to Covid concerns.

The gallery re-opened on Jan. 19 with an exhibition by Wendy Waddell called Art Within Crisis.

Nancy Arcand, the executive director of the council said Covid-19 protocols will be in effect in the gallery, including mandatory mask wearing.

“We’ve set a lot of policies in place, a lot of safety aspects. The actual facility doors will stay closed but you have to ring a doorbell to get in and masks are mandatory. We open the door, we social distance, you sanitize your hands, the art work, of course, is to be looked at and not touched,” Arcand explained.

Visitors can follow the bright red arrows in the gallery to guide them along.

“It’s very safe and very easy to come into.”

The upstairs area of the building is still closed and there are no public bathrooms open.

“It’s to view the art. We need to have that happening so the artists can have their shows.

Arcand said the arts council has been trying to do different things during the past 10 months to stay connected to the community.

“But we just cannot stay closed any longer and we have to open the gallery for exhibitions for our previous 2020 solo artists and new ones we have coming up in 2021.”

They have held virtual shows and exhibitions as well as holding the popular Christmas Craft Market online.

“We’ve been in survival mode. I’m very fortunate that we’ve been working straight through developing different programs, reevaluating programs and looking at things for the future.

“We survived, we kept our head above water. We were able to obtain Covid grants and rent subsidies which kept us going. That’s the only thing that did. It’s 2021 that’s a little bit scary because funding is a little bit different now,” she said.

The arts council is preparing for its 50th year, next year as well as its 25th annual Children’s Festival in 2021. The festival will be virtual.

“Basically, we have decided that the Children’s Festival will be a virtual event. We cannot plan a 5,000 person festival and have expectations that it’s going to fly.”

However, she said they have a few surprised up their sleeve for the event, scheduled to take place on June 13, 2021.

The gallery itself is now open Tuesdays to Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.

“It’s wonderful just to be open. Just to support our artists and support our community again. People are in need of some visual things just to take them away.”

Mission City Record