Many people might consider Ruth-Ann Thorn’s business essential. After all, the Solana Beach art gallery owner is providing the public a chance to find peace in creativity.
That knowledge is what’s driving Thorn to keep EC Gallery afloat. Despite the hardships she has faced in recent months, she’s determined to keep connecting the public to the many talented artists she works with.
EC Gallery was forced to abruptly close in March as a result of the stay-at-home order. On top of that, three of her employees weren’t comfortable with returning to work because of their age, Thorn said.
“Our landlord has not worked with us so we still owe back rent,” Thorn said. “It’s been a challenge because galleries operate on such a small margin and being closed for 90 days can easily put most galleries out of business.”
Thorn said it’s been “very stressful” but the pandemic has also given her a chance to explore new ways to reach clients.
“We are hosting a live, online streaming show three days a week to keep our collectors who are not comfortable coming out engaged with our artists,” Thorn said.
The feedback to their virtual efforts have been positive, Thorn said.
“I learned that art is essential,” Thorn said. “So many of our collectors being stuck at home said the art that they had collected brought them a feeling of peace and permanence. Art is one of those things that affects our environment. I learned that no matter what people need art.”
To make up for loss revenue, Thorn said she’s also had to pull her art collection out of storage.
“Our plans were to keep this art for future investment but this pandemic forced us to take it out of storage and put it for sale at 50% off,” Thorn said.
In the meantime, Thorn will continue to operate her gallery as best she can, especially because she knows what it means to those who find comfort in art.
“We will continue to do our best to remain open,” Thorn said. “We are hoping that we don’t get shut down again.”
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