The Fireweed Studio at Somba K’e Civic Plaza is set to open today at 5 p.m.
Georgina Williston, president of the non-profit Yellowknife Guild of Arts and Crafts was excited to announce the news last week but said there will be many changes as to how pottery and fibre arts will be sold over the summer.
Every year, members of the Yellowknife Guild of Arts and Crafts sell locally made cards, felted products, knitted scarves, spun wool and various types of pottery dishes at the heritage Fireweed Studio cabin.
“It is definite going to be different this year with Covid-19 and we have been talking with the Department of Health and Social Services and we have gotten direction from them,” she said.
“The biggest change this year is the amount of people who will be allowed in the Fireweed Studio at any given time, which will be two people. This is because the cabin is small and we want to maintain social distancing and set up measures that will keep people safe.”
Williston said that some of the safety measures that people can expect are more plastic protection around the table and fibre-based items. Visitors will also be encouraged to try not to handle items so to avoid spreading the virus.
The Guild of Arts and Crafts is also going to put tables outside to show pottery and other items.
Right now there is uncertainty as to the extent to which the guild will be working closely with the Yellowknife Farmers Market. Typically every year, the Fireweed Studio benefits from the traffic that the market gathers every Tuesday in addition to the many tourists that are drawn to the area over the summer.
Julie Downes, the manager of the farmers’ market, said in an email organizers are aiming to launch July 7. Before Covid-19 hit, the target date was June 9.
Williston said summer sales are a big contributor to the roughly $15,000 that is raised from sales by member artists, artisans, students and teachers each year.
She expects that sales activity will be slower than other years.
Revenue gathered from the sales not only benefit artists, but provide a commission to the guild to provide services and operations.
“We have taken a fair financial hit from Covid-19 starting in March and it has meant that we had to cancel classes in pottery and fibre-making,” she said.
The annual spring sale, which typically takes place at St. Patrick High School was also cancelled in May because of the chief public health officer banning inside gatherings.
The guild’s annual ice cream bowl fundraiser, usually held at Somba K’e Park on Canada Day, which coincides with the City of Yellowknife’s festivities at Somba Ke Civic Plaza, was also cancelled – an even that draws about $5,000.
Williston is hoping locals will turn out for the sales over the summer to support local artists. The hours of operation will be every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.