MANSFIELD ─ The COVID-19 pandemic has made Element of Art closed to the public for nine months.
The nonprofit art gallery and studio in downtown Mansfield has been exhibiting and selling artworks made by adults with developmental disabilities. The pieces range from paintings to ceramics.
Sarah Stickney, the integration coordinator for EOA, said artists have not been able to create new artworks over the past months because the studio remains closed. Neither could they make anything for the Christmas sale.
It has been challenging for EOA to showcase the pieces besides on its website, Stickney said. Recently, it got an opportunity to display some paintings and ceramics at Happy Grape, the Lexington wine bar and bistro.
Happy Grape’s owner Pam Smith said she loves what EOA offers to the community and is glad to show their work at the restaurant.
“The pieces are unique, beautiful and would make wonderful holiday gifts,” Smith said.
She also said Happy Grape is providing the space without any charge. The artists will receive 100 percent of the purchase price. It will feature EOA’s artwork until the end of the month.
“I'm really hoping that if we are remaining closed, we can get other gallery-style options for people to actually come and see the pieces in person,” Stickney said.
Before the pandemic reached Ohio, Stickney said EOA was not only showcasing the artworks but offering art classes. Now they rely on the sale online. But the experience for people is not the same as going to a gallery and browse everything in person.
Once in a while, a customer would see something in the window and call to make the purchase, Stickney said.
She also said the shutdown hit hard on the artists, who have been asking when the studio will be open. By creating art at EOA, they could get out of the house and be part of the community.
“We have these artists with developmental disabilities and we get other artists to come in and work with them. Integrating into the community is important. It's just a really great way for artists (with developmental disabilities) to be able to come in and express their creativity through painting and all of our other classes,” Stickney said of the importance of the studio.
EOA is waiting for the situation to get better to at least allow artists to come back and start to make artworks again, Stickney said.
If people are interested in supporting the organization, Stickney said they can check the pieces on the website and make a phone call to order. EOA is offering curbside pickup service now.