Light on horizon for Cowper Art Gallery amid COVID gloom
THE morning light streams in through the stained-glass window of Kerrie Bowles’ Cowper Art Gallery as she moves works around.
It has been closed since March as another casualty of COVID-19 for the arts, but there is light on the horizon.
Ms Bowles, along with co-owner and son James, will reopen the gallery on Saturday for their annual collectables exhibition, and said she can’t wait to open the doors.
“It’s great, it’s really nice to be opening again,” she said. “When I sent out the invitation the response to our artists around September the response was it was lovely to see the gallery opening again and that everyone wanted to get out and see an exhibition.”
While Ms Bowles agrees that the arts community had been “smashed” and neglected by government, the gallery has seemingly doubled-down on investing in an artistic future, taking over the nationally-known Fay Boyd Fine Art School.
“The decision wasn’t made in the middle of the pandemic, it’s been a long time in planning, but the pandemic was where the changeover was happening,” she said.
“Whether that was the right time or not, who knows,” she laughed.
What is giving Ms Bowles hope for the arts is the influx of new people coming to art classes that she has been able to run since July.
“In July we started up our Term 3 program and we had an amazing response – so many people – and lots of new people,” she said.
“People had time to discover things and try things they enjoyed, and then thought they’d learn about it.
“Secondly, people couldn’t travel and are looking for other things do, and finally I think people thought they wouldn’t leave it any longer, and just do it now.”
“People have discovered a lot about their own creativity, and we just have to look at different ways of doing things now.”
Rather than their usual opening event, the gallery will hold an opening weekend, with 15 artists who will be in attendance Ms Bowles said she couldn’t wait to hear what they’d been up to over the past year.
“We‘ve brought together as many of our wonderful Clarence Valley artists as we can to help us celebrate (the reopening),” she said.
“It’s nice to see it come back together as a gallery space again.”
The Cowper Art Gallery is at 90 Clarence St, Cowper, and is open weekends from 10am-4pm, and also Thursday/Friday in the school holidays.