Since March, every business open to the public has been forced to invent a new way of surviving the pandemic restrictions. New strategies are required to creatively adapt to the coronavirus.
Carla Massoni, owner of MassoniArt Gallery on High St. in Chestertown fearing the worst for a business dependent on a vibrant tourist trade and community engagement, “pivoted” early with a strategy to continue promoting her artists.
“I will do anything in my power to support the artists that I have represented for years. I value what they do. I love their work—this is the partnership we’ve established. They do the work, and I find a way to get it to market,” she said in a recent interview.
Even before the restrictions began to ease up, Massoni began to enhance her online presence with professional videos by Andover Media and to return to her scheduled exhibits.
Concerned that an open gallery approach risked to much social exposure during the pandemic, Massoni decided to customize her approach by inviting customers by appointment only. That way, she says, visitors can have the gallery to themselves and take their time with the exhibit.
The November-December exhibit, Marc Castelli’s “Shouting at the Wind” is already attracting appointment dates. His reputation for astonishing portraits embracing the heart of the Chesapeake—its waterman—along with his on-site talks about the men who are his subjects have been a perennial draw for the gallery.
But change comes with a cost. She misses the pre-pandemic gallery openings, the crowds of First Friday visitors, and the excitement of Tea Party and Downrigging’s festivities.
“I love being with all the people who have come in all these years… I’ve watched a whole generation of people who come in and out of the gallery, folks who have weekend homes and I’ve seen their children awkwardly graduating from high school and college and now they bring their new wife or husband and baby.”
Massoni speaks for all of us in our lament for better days. But she also speaks to our determination to move forward and to continue to innovate, create, and connect in new ways.
This video is approximately seven minutes in length. To find out more about MassoniArt and watch the artists’ videos please go here.