Prior to the announcement that all non-essential businesses would be closing their doors for the national lockdown Richard Boyd-Dunlop says his two galleries, Boyd-Dunlop Gallery and Napier Contemporary Art Space, had already begun to feel the affects of Covid-19.

Grimoire was booked in for his opening at the Napier Contemporary Art Space on March 20.

"It was a show we had been looking forward to. Crying is a collection of new original works by local artist Hayden Burgess (aka Grimoire).

"This was the emerging painter's debut solo show which had been three months in the making," Boyd-Dunlop said.

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"More than 60 people had RSVPed to the show and we were expecting a good turnout of art collectors and friends. The show was all hung and at 2pm on the day of the show, the artist and gallery made a last-minute decision to cancel due to concerns around the spread of Covid-19 in solidarity with those in the community who were anxious about the spread of the virus.

"The following day Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the Covid-19 alert system placing NZ at level 2."

So Boyd-Dunlop says his team started to look at other ways they could promote the show.
Grimoire was introduced via livestream on Facebook.

"The engagement level was high and we received lots of positive feedback with some viewers requesting catalogues and price lists.

"By Monday we knew we would be closing our doors to the public for at least a month and that the tourist visitors who often visit and purchase from the gallery would be out of the picture for a long while yet. We then started to look at other ways we could promote our artists and potentially sell works via the web.

"We represent more than 30 full-time artists. We have a store room full of thousands of original artworks and fine art prints. Aside from our own livelihoods, our business contributes largely to the livelihoods of these artists."

He said 99 per cent of art sales were made by visitors to the gallery who see the artworks firsthand.

"We have many visitors to our website but it is unusual for people to purchase artworks online." Grimoire's new original artworks were added to the online shop which had previously just been for prints.

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"We offer free shipping of these works in NZ, however, shipping is suspended until the end of lockdown but we have seen a surge of support and visitors to the website to peruse the collections.

Boyd-Dunlop says they were to open a new show of artworks Objects of Desire by Patrick Tyman, floral oil painter and printmaker on April 6.

"These are exhilarating works that combine Tyman's signature flora and fauna and bright Pacific colours into dreamy compositions. We are working ... to see how we can get his show of new works out."

*The Boyd-Dunlop Gallery and Napier Contemporary Art Space are two gallery spaces run collectively by Richard Boyd-Dunlop and his team on Hastings St, Napier. Go online to boyddunlop.com or phone 021 201 0079.