Handworks Art Gallery closes suddenly, leaving artists scrambling
A Saint John art gallery closed suddenly recently, leaving artists worried about the money and art the gallery owes them.
Handworks Art Gallery offered a place for local artists to sell their work for decades. The consignment-style store has changed owners over the years, and recently changed location.
It closed without notice a couple of weeks ago and artists have struggled to reach the owners.
“It really sent a shockwave through the crafts community as to what's going to happen to the work that they have there,” said Beth Biggs, a jewelry artist.
She has pieces inside Handworks, and has been unable to reach the owners to find out what's going on.
“Because I think we're such a small community and we depend on each other so much, I think some communication would have been really helpful,” she said.
Tandi Hooper-Clark founded Handworks and sold it years ago. Artists have reached out to her for answers.
“I couldn’t answer the question, because I didn't really know what was going on, besides rumours. And you can't always trust rumours. But when I heard it closed, it really made me feel very sad,” she said.
“And they don't own the work either, you know? It's the artists' work.”
Jeneca Klausen is a jewelry maker who used to sell at the gallery. Recently, she noticed a shift in the management style, which made her uneasy and she pulled out.
“And then it just closed, all of a sudden. And now I feel so lucky that I did remove my work from there because there is so many people there that still have work in there,” Klausen said.
“No one is saying anything; they haven't contacted anybody.”
The store owners didn't respond to CBC News requests for information. Its Facebook page announced a temporary closure for a reorganization, but that closure was to start this weekend.
Biggs says she got a call Thursday night from a person who said they were the new owner, and that the store would be re-opening soon.