Both of those descriptions can be applied to the Shelburne Arts Cooperative in Shelburne Falls. “Never changing” describes the Cooperative’s longevity—we’ve been in existence, in the same spot, for 22 years! “Always changing” describes the ever-expanding array of fine, local art and craft to be found in this lovely and distinctive gallery.
Like many other small businesses, the Shelburne Arts Cooperative and its 42 artist members have been dramatically affected by the necessary restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our artists have lost an important outlet for selling their work, and our Cooperative, having had to close, has lost the revenue (a percentage of artist sales) that enables the shop to cover its fixed expenses including monthly rent, insurance, minimal utilities during this time. The Co-op has no salaried employees, as we are run by our members’ volunteer labor, and only one very part-time bookkeeper. Because we do not have employees, we do not qualify for a small business loan under the government's stimulus plan.
We at the Shelburne Arts Co-op reluctantly but hopefully ask for your support at this challenging time, in hopes that raising a modest amount of money, $15,000, will enable us to cover our monthly expenses, possibly needed until the end of 2020, with the expectation that we will eventually be able to reopen. Our reluctance is because we know folks are being asked to support many individuals and organizations whose need is great at this time. Our hope is that you will make a contribution on our “Go Fund Me” page. We are not considered an “essential” business but we believe that art is essential to our quality of life. We hope you do, too, and will help us continue bringing it to our community.
For over twenty years, the Shelburne Arts Cooperative has been a setting for local artists to show and market their work, and for tourists and residents alike to purchase beautiful decorative and functional items to give as gifts or enhance their own homes and persons. In addition to being a retail arts gallery, the Co-op has taken various opportunities to contribute to the economic health of the town and the region by banking locally, advertising in a small local newspaper, and directing visitors and customers to neighboring establishments for food and other items. Moreover, Co-op members support area charities through donations of merchandise and talent, and our talented team of members competes in the Mary Lyon Spelling Bee each year, a fundraiser for local scholarships. Visitors to our shop and our neighbors in Shelburne Falls recognize the Co-op’s uniqueness and contribution to the cultural, economic, and humanitarian aspects of our community as well as to their lives. To learn more about the Shelburne Arts Cooperative and the work of our individual artists, visit the Co-op’s Facebook page and our website: ShelburneArtsCoop.com.
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