Harmony Collective holds on through pandemic

BRATTLEBORO — Harmony Collective, an artist-run gallery at 49 Elliot St., has lived most of its life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the gallery opened in October 2019, founders Kay Curtis and Kate Greenough acknowledged the usual difficulties of running a gallery but were eager to provide a space that had been missing downtown.

Their mission statement called for the Harmony Collective “to be an extraordinary place for artists and art lovers, where artists benefit from the sales of their work.” The collective is made up of 33 local artists, working in almost as many mediums. They pay a membership fee and monthly dues, and they contribute eight hours a month working the front desk.

The gallery takes 15 percent from art sales - a significantly lower rate than many venues - so its member artists receive the maximum benefit. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day, seven days a week, with the exception of major holidays.

But according to a news release, there was a time when it seemed like the gallery wouldn't make it.

The collective held its biannual members meeting last July in a field, its members shouting to be heard in a socially distanced circle.

The gallery had been closed for nearly three months, and the group was seriously considering closing permanently, due to fear of exposure to the coronavirus and the cost of staying open in a year with almost no tourism.

“We decided to stay open,” said Curtis. “We decided to keep trying.”

The collective reported a successful holiday season and, while sales have been slower since the new year, they said have been many stories of community and delight gathered by the artists working the desk.

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