Ptownie promised to give you more information on how businesses and sectors in Provincetown “pivoted” during the tough Covid year. Everyone has learned a great deal. The result has been a very silver lining for Provincetown Galleries.
The pandemic has changed the way many of us think, create, and do business, and no-one knows that better than Provincetown’s gallery owners, who have made sure that artists and art not only survived the crisis, but thrived throughout it.
The past year was one of growth. “The crisis has made Ptown a better place,” says Marla Rice, owner of the Rice-Polak Gallery on Commercial Street. “We did things no one would have imagined before. We created the Ptown Gallery Stroll—90% of the galleries in town banded together for the first time ever, acting cohesively, figuring out universal protocols, how to do openings—we figured that all out as a community. I’m unbelievably proud and excited about it. We’ve done it for a year and we want to continue.” She pauses. “You know, it’s true: we are all stronger together!”
The Gallery Stroll formed in response to the pandemic, allowing collectors to browse online and make appointments with galleries, allowing galleries to work together to attract art lovers to Provincetown. “It’s also a way of acting as a lobby with the and the Provincetown Business Guild,” adds Rice. “They always focus on the entertainment industry and the restaurants, so now we have a voice, too. We want to add more educational programs, lectures, maybe have docents taking collectors around. It’s something like the Boston and New York Art Dealers Associations. This is the right next move for us.”
It’s a position of strength and solidarity with which to move into the new season. “In general we feel the crisis is over, and so now we’re redefining who we are and what we are,” says Rice. “I can’t say enough about the friendships I’ve discovered this year. Before Covid, I barely knew any of the other gallery owners. Now, I just have such respect for everyone. We’re all hardworking people doing the best we can. This is a destination because we’re all here, all of us, making art and bringing beauty into people’s lives.”
Provincetown’s small town feel and intimate scale have traditionally offered visitors the opportunity to visit many galleries and studios, and even to meet some of the artists in a walkable area mostly on two main streets in its downtown. The Ptown Gallery Stroll has brought awareness that Provincetown galleries were operating in safe, efficient, and evolving ways during the health crisis… and beyond. “We’re planning to continue it,” affirms Rice. “Once you’ve begun this kind of cooperation, it just grows and grows.”
The group’s broader mission is to foster a sense of community and mutual support among gallery owners, as well as explore strategies for promoting Provincetown as a thriving art and design community both today and into the future.
Visitors, residents, and art lovers can visit the site to find information about Ptown galleries, including business hours, current live and linked content, how to visit each gallery, and how to make an appointment in advance. Information about logistics like parking, comfort, and access is also available on the site.
As for Rice, she’s anticipating an exciting season. “What I’m most looking forward to is taking what I’ve learned from last yar and incorporating it in this year,” she says. “It’s not about getting back to normal, because this is better—we’ve discovered a more thoughtful way of doing business and communicating. I’m interesting in integrating it all, learning more about online opportunities, and also touching and smelling and seeing art work as it arrives. I get excited when I open the door in the morning and think, okay, here we go!”
“After 30 years, I have a lot of close collectors,” Rice says. “It’s their custom to come and visit the gallery when they come to Ptown. I miss just sitting on my steps and hanging out with them. That may be the best part of this summer!”
There’s no doubt that, for many visitors, discovering—or re-discovering—art will be the best part of their summers, too.
To read more on how the Crown & Anchor handled Covid and how they are planning for 2021 go to: SUMMER OF 2021? CHECKING IN WITH THE CROWN & ANCHOR