Retailers beefed up their presence both online and curbside, restaurants moved tables and chairs out to the parking lot and everyone was forced to add “Zoom” to their vocabulary.
For artists, the pandemic meant an abrupt halt to the vast majority of outlets for showing their work and connecting with collectors.
Gone were the art receptions, holiday festivals, craft fairs and other community events, leading to a brave new world as some sold and networked online. Teaching artists also had to become experts with overhead cameras, sound, lighting and even video editing.
Slowly but surely though, the smaller art galleries are reopening for limited viewing and small outdoor classes.
Jenniffer Jimenez, owner of La Fritanguera, a small Nicaraguan restaurant in downtown Concord, decided to get creative by planning a special weekend of activities for her customers April 16-18.
“My birthday is coming up, and I wanted to celebrate it safely outdoors with my friends and family,” she says. “Then I thought: Why not look at ways for my customers to enjoy a celebration as well?”
She reached out to me with the hope of finding local artists to help turn her parking lot dining room into an art gallery for a day. We got together and mapped out a whole weekend of events for her diners, including a pop-up show featuring original art and handmade gifts from more than 15 local artists, a paint-n-sip class and wine tasting.
“I’m hoping that art makes people really hungry,” Jimenez says with a smile.
This event will also shine a light on young artist Dariyana Bolds, who’s in the 6th grade at the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts. Bolds loves to draw in anime style and will be auctioning off one of her original illustrations.
“I had one of her pieces professionally framed, and I want to help her raise some money to buy more art supplies,” says Jimenez.
When asked, the restaurateur offered this advice for small businesses trying to survive during COVID: “Keep riding the wave and try to accept the lows with the highs. Get creative, adapt, stay safe and just keep going.”
Visit MadeinConcord.com or LaFritanguera.com for more information on the April 16-18 event. Attendance will be limited, as allowed by city and county COVID guidelines for restaurants.
Lisa Fulmer is a mixed media artist, Concord Art Association board member and founder of MadeinConcord.com. She also consults with local artists on self-promotion and personal branding. Contact her at LisaFulmerWrites@gmail.com