HIGH COUNTRY — Local art galleries are responding to the COVID-19 virus outbreak with cautious optimism, implementing precautionary measures recommended by the CDC. Several galleries have committed to daily cleaning and sanitization in an effort to continue supporting individual artists and the High Country arts scene during social distancing.

The Hands Gallery in Boone is continuing to hold business hours as usual as of March 16. A collective of artists across the High Country during the past 45 years, the gallery features an assortment of mediums.

“I know that for me, working the gallery two days a month is a welcome interaction with our local, art-loving public. I hope that our routines are not disrupted too much in the weeks ahead. We’re all gonna keep making art for you,” said potter Tim Brown, a senior member of the collective. “That’s always a cure for somber times. You can find painting, jewelry, pottery, photography, woodworking, fiber arts, glass and more under one roof.”

The Nthº Gallery and Studios, located in Boone, released in a statement on Monday, March 16, that the gallery would be closed until further notice as a precautionary measure.

“Art gatherings are food for the soul. It is sad that when we need it the most, we’re going on a hard-and-fast diet,” said Brian Lee, senior member of the gallery.

At the Art Cellar Gallery in Banner Elk, owners are continuing to offer support to their community and the “family” that has been created through the years.

“We recognize these are uncertain and challenging times,” said Pamela McKay, gallery owner of the Art Cellar in Banner Elk. “The health and safety of our artists, staff, clients and community are our top priority. In an effort to keep everyone safe we have begun working on major spring cleaning, renovations and interior upgrades to the gallery. In addition we will be cleaning and sanitizing the gallery daily. We know these times are not business as usual, but we at the Art Cellar Gallery are making plans for an exciting upcoming season.”

Doe Ridge Pottery Gallery in Boone on King Street is offering gift cards in the face of the pandemic and hoping to launch an online shop, “which should be active soon,” according to Carol King.

The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum in Blowing Rock has launched an online series titled “BRAHM at Home” to connect people, culture and art.

“Featuring a variety of artistic challenges, deep-dives, unique gallery tours, program highlights and youth engagement, we aim to provide some creative light to these uncertain and challenging times,” the museum announced on its website at www.blowingrockmuseum.org.

This series will feature regular BRAHM programming, such as art lessons, along with new approaches to programs, such as the Curator’s Corner. Each week, there will also be artwork showcases and tours of the various galleries in the museum.

For details from additional High Country art galleries, see their respective contact information in the Gallery Times section.

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