SCOTTSDALE, AZ — As restaurants, bars and the hospitality industry has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, so, too, have a host of other small businesses, including local artists and art galleries.
Nicole Royse owns Royse Contemporary, an art gallery in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. She showcases the work of other artists, helps to connect their pieces with potential customers, and typically hosts monthly exhibitions at her gallery.
Like other small business owners, COVID-19 made her business adapt, too.
"It’s definitely been challenging because when Arizona first shut down in March, it’s usually our busy season. We get the extra crowds from Spring Training, and for the other art fairs that we have going on in the Valley. So that was tough," she said.
On a positive note, the pandemic allowed her to focus on her artists to make sure they were still creating, and, as more people were working from home, she said she was able to do more virtual and private art consultations.
Still, she missed the hustle and bustle that Arizona's typically busy event seasons bring to Old Town -- something that is slowly beginning to return.
"Small businesses and art, in particular, is always a challenging market and field and it's been hit greatly by this," she said, referring to the pandemic. "A lot of the spaces have closed, might be permanent, we don’t know. And the art walks are just starting to come back and they’re very quiet still. I’m hoping people will eventually feel safe and comfortable because arts, museums are the most sterile environment. It’s really safe. You don’t touch anything. It's just to lift your spirits and be surrounded by color and fun imagery and things like that."
On Thursday, she launches a new exhibition, called "Into Another Light," that features abstract works by Casey Wakefield. "It’s about looking to the future, looking to a brighter new year, and really being uplifted by color and light," Royse said.
Royse said the gallery would be open on Thursday from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. It is also open Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.
Also happening Thursday evening, the Scottsdazzle Art Walk, where a number of art galleries will be open through Old Town.
"We are the oldest art walk in the United States," said Susie Timm, who represents the Scottsdale Gallery Association.
"It was started by a group of gallery owners 46 years ago who wanted to bring attention to the fact that we not only have some great artists who live and show their work here in Arizona, but there are also other great regional artists who have the opportunity to show their work as well," she said.
From 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., different galleries will be open between Scottsdale Road and Goldwater Blvd. and along Marshall Way, between Indian School and Fifth Avenue.
"It's a chance to support the arts. It's a chance to be educated about all the different things that happen in the City of Scottsdale from an art perspective, and it's just a chance to show our community in one of our toughest years that any of us can remember, that we're here to support them and do it in a really safe way," she said.
For more information on Royse Contemporary, visit https://www.roysecontemporary.com. For more information on Scottsdazzle, the City of Scottsdale's month-long holiday celebration, visit www.Scottsdazzle.com.
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