New Orleans art galleries have taken a hard hit thus far in the coronavirus pandemic, and it doesn’t look to get better anytime very soon.
Ironically, New Orleans Art Exchange had been looking for a possible location for a new gallery showing contemporary art of living artists just before the crisis. The timing couldn’t have been worses.
It remains to be seen how New Orleans art galleries will get through this troubled time. Our hearts go out to them. We’re online only at this time, so even though sales are down, we don’t have the overhead that French Quarter art galleries do. Rent alone for a modest space in the French Quarter can be $10,000 a month. You have to sell a lot of paintings to cover that and other costs, including staff.
Living New Orleans artists, of course, are hurting too right now. Those whose sales came primarily from brick and mortar galleries are getting desperate. That’s because most artists do not make a large living, and many live from month to month, depending on their sales each month to pay the bills.
New Orleans art galleries – looking ahead
It remains to be seen how many New Orleans galleries will survive the coronavirus. This might depend on whether the real estate owners who rent to them show forbearance. This in turn will mean banks showing forbearance to the owners. There’s a chain of dependencies here just as there is in so many businesses now facing decisions about how tough to be on payments during this time.
The New Orleans art community will surely not be the same when this is over. At the very least, there will be a reshuffling. We desperately hope we can hold on to our artists and galleries. They’re such an integral part of what makes this city special.