New online art gallery featuring Saskatchewan artists

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Grasslands Gallery Online also offers virtual exhibitions where viewers can explore a real gallery without leaving their home.

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With more than three decades of experience exhibiting her art across the province, Laureen Marchand knows how difficult it can be to get works of art into a commercial gallery.

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Even cafes or restaurants that display local art can sometimes have waiting lists of up to a year. Galleries in smaller communities, which may be more accessible, have much more limited audiences.

These challenges were only compounded during the pandemic when art galleries were forced to close their doors to the public for months and travel between communities became difficult.

“I saw galleries wonder if they could stay in business and I saw artists worried about whether they would have venues again,” Marchand said.

“This spring, when it became clear that things were not going to be sorted out anytime soon, I decided to create something that would be some sort of alternative or improvement to the traditional brick-and-mortar commercial gallery.”

Marchand quietly launched Grasslands Gallery Online in mid-August with the aim of providing Saskatchewan artists with yet another platform for their work.

The gallery currently presents eight artists, a ninth is to be added in the coming days. Its online-only format enables people anywhere in the world to view and purchase the artists’ works.

Laureen Marchand launched Grasslands Gallery Online, an online <a class=art gallery featuring artists from Saskatchewan, in mid-August 2021.” class=”embedded-image__image lazyload” src=”https://smartcdn.prod.postmedia.digital/leaderpost/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/265200477-laureen_marchand-_grasslands_gallery_online-w.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=288″ srcset=”https://smartcdn.prod.postmedia.digital/leaderpost/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/265200477-laureen_marchand-_grasslands_gallery_online-w.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=288, https://smartcdn.prod.postmedia.digital/leaderpost/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/265200477-laureen_marchand-_grasslands_gallery_online-w.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=576 2x” height=”750″ loading=”lazy” width=”1000″/>
Laureen Marchand launched Grasslands Gallery Online, an online art gallery featuring artists from Saskatchewan, in mid-August 2021. Photo by Laureen Marchand /Submitted

As director of the gallery, Marchand takes care of sales and promotion, while the artists receive the sales details and ship the works of art straight from their studios to the buyer.

The response to the idea of ​​an online gallery has so far been consistently positive.

“It was wonderful. I had nothing but enthusiasm. Even artists I’ve approached who can’t participate at the moment say… ‘I’d like to go later’ or something like that, ”said Marchand.

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“I want this to be a business where everyone feels at home – the viewer and the artist – and I want to be able to communicate with everyone in a way that is mutually satisfactory.”

Edie Marshall, one of the first Grasslands Gallery Online artists, who lives in a rural community west of Regina, said exhibiting her art online saves her the time and expense of traveling to a physical gallery. It has also brought a wider audience to her work.

“I have a lot more promotion and exposure to my artwork than before and sales that I wouldn’t have had, so it definitely paid off,” she said.

But an online gallery can also offer a taste of the traditional gallery viewing experience. Marchand uses software to create virtual exhibitions that make the viewer feel like they are alone in a real gallery. When the viewer moves the mouse over a piece, the information about the piece is displayed.

The concept is fairly new and will only pick up momentum during the pandemic, but she expects it to keep growing.

“You can get close and then step back and move on to the next,” said Marchand.

“It’s like walking through a real exhibition, only you’re the only person in the room and you don’t have feet. Instead you have a mouse. “

On Monday Marchand is launching her second virtual exhibition You Are Here: A Place on a Map of the Heart with a number of artists. Marchand described the exhibition as an exploration of the way artists focus on their viewers in uncertain times.

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It expects the exhibition to be online for a month and anyone to view it on the Grasslands Gallery Online website. Marchand hopes to have a third exhibition of a number of small works during the Christmas shopping season.

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