Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Gallery Etc. will not reopen


June 3, 2020

Ron Warnick

Johnny Garton, a stepson of local artist Wayne Clark, carries one of Clark's sculptures to a waiting car Wednesday after The Gallery Etc. announced it would not reopen because of the coronavirus pandemic. The gallery had been a downtown fixture for 15 years.

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed a longtime business in Tucumcari.

The Gallery Etc., closed since mid-March because of mandated shutdowns of non-essential businesses due to the virus, will not reopen and is dispersing its artwork collection back to its creators. It had been a fixture in downtown Tucumcari for 13 years.

Lynn Rodgers, president and director of The Gallery Etc., said its board of directors held an emergency meeting May 20. She said they unanimously voted to close the gallery at 201 S. Second St., citing a cash crunch created by the shutdown.

"We'd been closed for two months, and the financial situation was zilch; we were running out of cash," Rodgers said in a phone interview.

She said even if The Gallery Etc. reopened soon, the board concluded there wouldn't be enough foot traffic to keep its doors open. An ongoing ban on public gatherings also prevented child and adult art classes. The Gallery Etc. would run out of money by late July, she said.

The Gallery Etc. had rented the space from the Tucumcari Masonic Lodge for $200 a month. Rodgers said it also had $550 and $600 a month in other expenses.

"We were doing OK and holding our head above water, but this (pandemic) put us under, totally," Rodgers said. "Coronavirus killed it."

Rodgers said she'd contacted the artists who had hundreds of paintings, sculptures or jewelry pieces in the gallery and urged them to make appointments to pick them up through June 30.

The gallery also will hold a sidewalk sale the morning of June 13 to get rid of some furniture and other equipment.

On Wednesday, friends and family members of local artist Wayne Clark were picking up several dozen bronze sculptures created by him.

The Gallery Etc. also provided a periodic outlet for poets, writers and musicians with its open-mic nights.

Levi Mericle, a published poet and songwriter based in Tucumcari, was one of the first open-mic participants in 2013.

"It saddens me greatly," he said about The Gallery Etc.'s closure during a phone interview. "That was about the only outlet in town that had poetry, readings and stuff like that. It's heartbreaking for me. I wish I had some money to throw at them to keep the doors open. It's going to one of those things we'll greatly miss."

Rodgers said The Gallery Etc. organization, however, would remain intact and likely hold art classes again.

"I personally can't see it happening this year, but I'm hoping to do that eventually," she said. "We're going to keep the organization going, if at all possible. We're going to give it a shot."


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