The recession hasnt been easy on local galleries when times are tight, art gets bumped to the bottom of most peoples spending lists.
Customers also are thinking more about the purchases they make, are asking to purchase art on layaway and arent embarking on redecorating schemes, local gallery owners said.
Weve definitely been affected (by the recession), and this year has by far been the hardest, said Karyn Gabaldon, owner of Karyn Gabaldon Fine Arts. Im hoping were through the worst of it.
But despite the tough economic climate, gallery owners are forging ahead with their own business improvements and creative adaptations with the hopes of keeping their doors open for years to come.
For some, it means taking a new perspective on business.
Good is the new great, said Kay Ford, marketing director at Sorrel Sky Gallery. We revel in the good because that makes everything else so much better.
The gallerys business has been steady throughout the recession and has even seen some upward trends in the last year, said Sorrel Sky owner Shanan Campbell Wells. While the gallery has been through some rough times, business is up 40 percent compared with last year at this time, Wells said.
Her response to the recession has been to look beyond it. With an eye toward investing in the future of her business, Wells recently bought the building vacated by Hogans Store, 828 Main Ave., and will be moving the gallery and her art consulting business there after renovations are complete.
The move is an opportunity to own rather than lease a building and will expand the gallerys space by 60 percent, Ford said.
Its an opportunity to do better than good, she said. The gallery will open in its new home May 12.
Gallery owners also have been working to expand their selections and their customer base.
Gabaldon said she has expanded the selection of items she carries in order to appeal to a broader audience. She has started selling furniture and some less-expensive items such as candle holders as an option for people who arent looking to make a major purchase.
Were trying to be a gallery for all people, she said.
Jackson Clark, owner of Toh-Atin Gallery, said he hasnt lowered his pricepoint, but he has sought a wider customer base than ever before. The gallery started a blog and a Facebook page and now has an online newsletter, all to help raise awareness among new and returning customers, Clark said.
The gallery also has increased its attendance at various art shows around the country and does a much larger percentage of its business on the Internet than in the past, he said. More than 80 percent of the gallerys client base is now from outside Durango, he said.
Before the recession, 70 percent of Karyn Gabaldon Fine Arts customers were local, but now that number has dropped off, Gabaldon said.
The locals were hit hard, she said.
As a result, the gallery has come to depend more on the summer tourist season, she said.
(Summer) used to be icing on the cake, and now that seems to have changed, she said. Now Im hoping it will make my year.