As the Cariboo begins to reopen following the COVID-19 shutdown, art is returning to 100 Mile House as the Parkside Art Gallery prepares to open its own doors in June.
The longtime gift shop manager Claudia Ring said that she’s looking forward to seeing the public in the building once more. Ring herself is a textile artist who first got involved with the gallery because of her love of art and her desire to socialize with other artists.
“I think it’s important to support local artists so I buy a lot of art too because I think that it’s important for the community,” Ring said.
During normal times, Ring said typically the gallery will have a new art show every month and host opening parties at the beginning of each month. In addition, they also have the gift shop Ring runs, a room set aside to rent out for activities, a fashion room for textile artists and a garden that hosts the storey walk for children to enjoy.
Due to the pandemic Ring said they had to close down in mid-March because as they are a volunteer-run and based organization their first priority was to make sure those volunteers were safe. Ring says she and the other volunteers are now feeling safe to resume operations and plans to reopen on June 2.
To ensure this safety, Ring said they’re currently working on cleaning and sanitizing the washrooms and are putting in a new rule barring people coming in off the street or park from using it. At the front desk, they’ve put up sneeze guards, stockpiled hand sanitizer, gloves, facemask and everything else they need to protect both the general public and the volunteers.
“We’re very excited to reopen and all the volunteers were really excited to come back, it’s time to open again,” Ring said.
While they may be reopened, she said she doesn’t think they’ll be doing art show openings the same way they did before the pandemic. She feels having a bunch of people come for the openings will be too crowded but feels their day to day operations shouldn’t be impacted.
As a way to make up for the lost revenue from the last few months, Ring began making cloth masks out of cotton and silk and selling them to people in the community who needed them by donation. She will be counting to sell masks at the Parkside Gallery’s gift shop and to date has raised $2,500 from mask sales alone.
“There’s a lot of people who want masks now and they are being recommended to,” Ring said.