In March, I reflected that the COVID-19 pandemic was a crisis that presented us all with a challenge unprecedented in our lifetime. As we approach the nine-month mark, we have learned how profoundly our lives have been impacted by the pandemic. We know that, along with tourism sector, the cultural and creative sector are among the most affected by the current crisis.
Venue-based arts and cultural events have been extremely hard hit by social distancing measures. Early in the pandemic ArtSea had to take the difficult step of closing the gallery and postponing key programs, such as the ArtSea Studio Tour and Sidney Fine Art Show. Since then, due to the extraordinary efforts and support of many volunteers and artists, we have re-imagined our programs and services to continue to meet our mission. We were able to re-open the ArtSea Gallery in September and revamp the Studio Tour and Salish Sea Lantern Festival to virtual or home-based formats.
Unfortunately, due to the recent worsening nature of the pandemic, we have had to again close the ArtSea Gallery until further notice. This closure follows the November 24th Order of the Provincial Public Health Office. We know that this decision will again disappoint the artists presenting their shows and the many visitors that are drawn to the Gallery. While the Board regrets having to take this step, it is necessary to ensure the safety and health of our community.
We know that the effects of the pandemic on the arts community are immense and will be long lasting. I want to assure you that ArtSea is committed to support arts and culture on the Saanich Peninsula, including our Member Groups and individual members. Since March, ArtSea has invested countless hours to present new or adapted programs that serve to engage the community with arts and culture and create a sense of connection during this time of isolation. We are dedicated to continuing this work with you all in exploring new creative paths as we navigate this crisis look forward to building on the strength of our arts community.
Our thoughts continue to be with you all, and we hope that you all take care and stay safe.
Patty Wilson, Interim President, ArtSea Community Arts Council