Coronavirus Closure: March 30, 2020

Frank Oriti, Breather, acrylic and oil on canvas, 2013. 30×24-inches.

CAN Journal has asked us to provide an overview of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Bonfoey Gallery. At this point, March 30, 2020, it has stopped us dead in our tracks.

For those unfamiliar, Bonfoey is an art gallery providing representation of the works of over seventy-five regional artists, along with custom framing, gilding, carving, art installation, and art appraisal services. We have served Cleveland and Northeast Ohio since 1893—one hundred twenty-seven years. Despite this multitude of services, our business slowed down significantly in February. Our phones were not ringing, and fewer and fewer emails came through: we could feel that something was happening. We now understand that we were seeing the beginning of this unprecedented event and its eventual halt of the American economy.

Our last day open was Friday, March 20, then all nonessential businesses were closed on March 23 by the state. Currently, we have no sales coming in and we have no goods or services—art, framing, installation, or appraisals—to bill. So, the gallery is closed and our staff of fourteen is on unemployment. We are hoping to reopen on April 6, but this date is beginning to look questionable.

Our major spring event was to have been our show Cause for Change, running from April 24 to June 6. The show was to feature the works of fourteen regional artists who are sustainability minded in their works and lives.

We had an Earth Day benefit and two other ancillary events planned for this show. All have been postponed indefinitely.

Our outreach to our customers is limited since our staff is unemployed. We cannot provide virtual galleries or spotlight features on our website as others have. We have not reached out through our website or social media since announcing our closure. Once we reopen, we will begin our outreach in earnest.

While closed, we are shoring up our business. We are investigating options through the Small Business Administration and our bank. Hopefully the monetary relief provided through federal and state programs will get Bonfoey to where it is supposed to be—a small business that currently employs and has employed many Clevelanders over its history.

While today’s situation is murky and ongoing, we know this will end. It may take time, but we will get there. To have remained in Downtown Cleveland, as one of the ten oldest galleries in the country doing our unique work, is a testament to the patronage of our clients and support of our artists. Please remember us when our doors open. We will need your continued assistance to keep moving forward.

We hope to see you soon!





1710 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44115