West Island gallery gives the street a taste of its art and artists
MONTREAL -- Small businesses have had to pivot their operations since the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything about the way they do things.
Viva Vida Art Space in Pointe-Claire Village in Montreal's West Island is spilling its creative juices on the streets for all to see.
Denise Buisman-Pilger brought her easel onto the sidewalk recently to paint a Korean vista, and loves being able to show passers-by her process.
"When I'm working outside, you can see the work progress and the amount of time and effort that goes into a painting, whereas if you just see it online as most people are shopping now, you don't see that," she said.
The painting is part of a curbside exhibition open on weekends.
"As an art gallery, a small business art gallery, it's sort of already difficult to get people to come in and then with COVID and all these restrictions and protocols, it became even more difficult," said gallery owner Nedia El Khouri.
The pandemic hit the art world hard, so El Khouri had to pivot.
She started with a drive-by vernissage, and then a sidewalk exhibition, often with the artist present.
"It's been such an amazing opportunity for the gallery to bring the art outside and for actual collectors to come in and see me work and see the work outside in a safe environment where everybody's more comfortable," said Buisman-Pilger.
Even some who may not have checked out an art gallery in the past, are comfortable to visit the outdoor version.
"I've had people come into the gallery that generally might have been too shy to come in so definitely an accessibility to the art that wouldn't have been there, maybe the silver lining to this COVID," said El Khouri.
The Viva Vida Art Gallery will host curbside exhibitions until the end of September.