Crary Using COVID Closure to Complete Projects

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WARREN, Pa. – The COVID-19 pandemic has cost not just lives, but small businesses and non-profits to close, some permanently, or severely limit hours in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

(Photo by Brian Hagberg. The Crary Art Gallery in Warren.)

The Crary Art Gallery is trying to take advantage of the reduced hours to complete improvement projects, including going through the gallery’s collection, and prepare a safe environment for volunteers and guests.

“It gives us a break,” Crary Exhibitions Committee Chair Thomas Paquette said. “We’ve been able to go through our collection and frame some of the works.”

Framing the various works takes time as each frame must be carefully measured and custom built to fit the specific piece.

Paquette said the pedestals holding some of the Marion Sanford sculptures may be upgraded to provide more stability for those pieces as well.

The Crary kitchen is currently under renovation and receiving an upgrade so the gallery can provide better accommodations for catered events.

One of the biggest concerns for scheduling future exhibits is how to keep both volunteers and visitors safe.

“We’re concerned for our proctors,” Paquette said. “Many are part of the population that has to be wary of COVID. It’s important that they feel safe.”

To that end, the Crary is working on getting a reception desk. The custom built desk, if approved, will sit just to the right of the entrance as visitors walk in and will serve a dual purpose.

“It will help flow as people will move to the right as they enter,” Paquette said. “It will also allow our proctors to maintain social distance as they greet people.”

The Crary is scheduled to present “The Riparian Zone – Up and Down the Riverbank” a joint production from Wendy and Bill Bale in April 2021. The exhibit is the first scheduled for 2021.

“Not only will it be full of artwork that reflects the passion that Wendy Bale has for nature it will also include handmade furniture by Bill Bale,” Crary Board member Doug Hearn said. “There will also be a strong statement about our ecological relationship with the riverbanks.”

Reservations for this exhibit can be made beginning in March. Guidelines for visiting the gallery can be found here.