An Artist's Life

Taking a Pause for the Cause

Circumstances beyond anything we could control or could have foreseen have created a condition where careful thought is required to find our path.

Not just a global pandemic. Not just open heart surgery. Not just an era of civil unrest.

ALL of these at once!

All things considered,
I’d say we are doing well!

-Rose and Bill Jarecki

As we came to accept the financial burden of having to support a storefront while being prevented from earning any revenue to support it back in March 2020, we carefully considered how we might continue in a brick and mortar environment, as arduous – albeit necessary – restrictions make servicing our community with a high-touch business like ours virtually impossible.

Then we considered the health and well-being of our extended gallery family – with many of our regular students falling into the most vulnerable category – with many of our key customers being hurt financially by job loss or reductions. Couple this with greatest uncertainty regarding future restrictions and shut downs eating away at the possibilities of strong revenue rebound during the late Summer and Fall. Factoring in that all of the subsidies and relief programs produced a tiny fraction of what would be required to continue. Finally, not to mention, trying to balance our own personal needs for a safe and speedy recovery from a major surgery and our concerns about contracting the virus at this time – the right path quickly became apparent.

I watched in horror as every last chance at not having to close evaporated as time progressed. Fearful of my every decision – to keep paying rents and continue to sink or to give up a storefront, students and customers I dearly love.

Then, I remembered a man greater than myself once said:
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first inaugural address 1933.

FDR was telling the American people that their fear was making things worse.

During the great depression, if you are old enough to remember (I am not, by the way!), news of the financial calamity caused people to run to the banks and take their money out – and – by so doing, they were causing even more damage to the economy. FDR took “unprecedented” steps during this time: closing banks for several days and calling Congress back to Washington for a special session. This gave the American people and government time to calm down and make recovery plans.

He thoughtfully hit the PAUSE button.

Finding precedent in his actions, my own fears abated and we came to the conclusion that the only way to continue doing what we love is to hit that PAUSE button, and give ourselves the ability to innovate our business forward with a clear head!

Taking a “Pause for the Cause”

So we are not “closing” in a traditional sense of a store closing.
As artists, we are NOT DONE!

We are, instead, taking the necessary steps to stay safe and re-organize, while mindfully acknowledging the volatility of the current socioeconomic and political environment. Big words for an artist? (Sorry, it’s my MBA getting the better of me.)

So while the decision to close our storefront is emotional for me and our customers, (how could it not be?), the decision was not made by emotion. With a cool head, and big plans to continue – we are preserving the potential to re-emerge better than ever! We’ve got this!

Meanwhile – new custom stained glass windows continue to be built – just as they have for more than 16 years! GC Lavender continues to be sold at Farmers’ Markets and online. These online shopping opportunities will be expanded with many more gifty art and jewelry offerings. And we are working on beta platforms for e-learning to take care of many classroom activities.

These new innovations will, understandably, take some time and effort.

In the short term – and as it becomes safe to do so, we will be spending more time coordinating fun events – being freed up a bit from the day-to-day rigors of managing a storefront. And as our art education takes on a fun and exciting new direction, we look forward to seeing all of you at these new events very soon

Your support for our business and our family during the
forced closure has touched my heart so very much
Thank You!
– Rose Jarecki

And, your continued support of our business moving forward is greatly appreciated! Your patronage helps us keep safely under roof at home and it will indeed be a key factor in determining how soon we can land back into a permanent retail space, more convenient for many of you.

Just know – We are NOT DONE!

“We, sadly, will be leaving the 926 Warren Avenue location in Downers Grove, at the end of June, in an effort to preserve capital and continue serving customers online and at other special event venues in the near term.”

June 15th, 2020

As we execute this transition, we hope you will keep in touch with us and continue to support the arts by subscribing to our newsletter, our blog and bookmarking our website.

Please take advantage of our Art for Life Podcasts – pick up some art tips, learn about our progress, and have a few laughs with us! We are beginning to find our voices again, after being knocked for quite a life loop!

Stay safe – be well, and we look forward to being with you again soon!