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Highland gallery shuts doors for the foreseeable future due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic


By Val Sweeney

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Leah Davis is among emerging artists who have exhibited work at the Upstairs Gallery in Inverness.
Leah Davis is among emerging artists who have exhibited work at the Upstairs Gallery in Inverness.

A community art gallery in the Highland capital has announced it will remain closed for the foreseeable future due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Upstairs, based in the offices of architects HRI|Munro in Academy Street, opened in 2017, serving as a springboard for a broad range of artists and fresh talent.

But curator Jayne Austin said after careful consideration, it has been decided to put the programme on hold for 2021.

“The joy of art lies in being able to view the work in person and socialise at exhibition openings but the gallery remains closed to the public for the foreseeable future,” she said.

“Visitors to the gallery will be aware that it is a small space which does not easily lend itself to comply with social distancing rules and within the context of the current climate, the health and wellbeing of staff is paramount.”

In the immediate aftermath of lockdown, it was decided to continue exhibiting artists programmed for 2020 online.

“This would allow for modest exposure of artists’ work which would otherwise not have been seen by the public and we are thankful to the artists who cooperated on this basis,” she said.

“However, it was always intended as a temporary measure in reaction to an evolving situation.”

After the costs of installing a 360-degree camera to allow a virtual visit plus an upgrade to the website proved prohibitive, it was decided to put a hold on the programme for 2021.

“Once it becomes safe again to meet in public, social distancing rules have been removed, a vaccine is readily available and the economic situation has become clearer, we will celebrate its reopening,” Ms Austin said.

Related: Highland gallery showcase for Dingwall artist



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