In the world of Canadian art galleries, the pandemic brought financial havoc, personal stress and organizational chaos. Exhibits years in the making closed suddenly or never opened. Travelling shows were put off or cancelled. For months, in most parts of the country, patrons couldn’t come inside.
Ontario institutions alone lost about $13 million in admissions revenue between March and July as a result, according to a survey done by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries. That’s an estimate, Zainub Verjee, the association’s executive director, calls “very conservative”.
“The pandemic has destabilized the sector in unprecedented ways,” she said. “It was a really strange thing. We were shut up and then we were put through phases and every two weeks it seemed like everything was shifting underneath us.”