Art in the Time of Coronavirus

Museums mostly shut, but some galleries soldier on—for now

A detail from “La Pared, Nogales [the wall], 2020,” by Jack Balas, is on display in Go Figure, continuing through May 30 at Etherton Gallery, which remains open, for now, at 135 S. Sixth Ave.

Over the last two weeks, Tucson's art museums have closed down one by one, their grim announcements syncing with the worsening national news about the coronavirus pandemic. Some galleries have closed as well (see accompanying box for closures).

But while would-be museum patrons are home honing their self-isolation skills and perusing art online, other art lovers are practicing social distancing at the galleries that remain open.

As of this writing, Tucson has not ordered a total lockdown, but health advisors are counselling people to just stay home. Nevertheless, some independent arts spaces are keeping the doors open for now.

Etherton Gallery is open on a "day to day basis," says director Hannah Glasston, a modus operandi shared by all the galleries that have chosen to stay open.

Like the other galleries, Etherton is following public health guidelines and "cleaning like mad."

"We have plenty of hand sanitizer," Glasston says. "We don't allow more than 10 people" at one time in the gallery, and on most days the numbers are closer to half that. And with just a few visitors at a time, "we have plenty of room" for patrons to stay the 6 feet apart required by social distancing. A strict "don't touch" policy is in force and staffers are gloved.

Here's a quick list of galleries still open at press time. It's essential to call before you go, lest your favorite gallery suddenly goes dark. Pay attention to public health guidelines and do not go out if you feel sick.

Etherton is keeping regular hours for its new show, Go Figure—a prescient title if ever there was one.

The exhibition zeroes in on "figurative work by great artists," Glasston says.

Art by all four of the artists can be viewed from home at

Titus Constanza, a classically trained painter, tries something new with large collages that track his life. Holly Roberts of New Mexico, a longtime gallery artist, is showing mixed media wall works that combine abstract painting with scraps of photos; her spouse, Robert Wilson, carves whimsical animas out of wood.

Jack Balas makes lively paintings of southwest subjects that, among other things, cover the horrors of the border, now made infinitely worse by pandemic politics.

In the Pop-up gallery, the gifted Tucson painter Benjamin Johnson has created "visual poems of the human experience."

135 S. Sixth Ave., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, until June. 624-7370.

Another downtown stalwart, Philabaum Glass Gallery has reduced its hours, but if you happen to be nearby outside those hours try calling and a staffer may be able to let you in.

The current show, Tapestries in Glass, showcases the colorful art of Richard Parrish. "It's gorgeous work, not like anyone else's," says the gallery's Dabney Philabaum.

711 S. Sixth Ave., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, 884-7404.

In the arts warehouse district, Davis Dominguez Gallery is sticking to regular day hours. The lovely current exhibition, Of the Flesh -- Figure Show, features figurative work by Bailey Doogan, Judith Stern and Jan Olsson.

154 E. Sixth St., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.,, 629-9759.

Contreras Gallery next door is open during the day, but its popular First Saturday evening openings are cancelled. Arizona Scenes, ending March 25, features traditional watercolors by father-and-son artists Frank and Owen Rose. Next up, April 4 through May 30, is Cats and Dogs: An Abstract Perspective." Gallerist Michael Contreras continues showcasing his elegant hand-made jewelry.

110 E. Sixth St., 10 to 3:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. 398-6557.

Gallery 2 Sun, west of Contreras, is also running on its regular schedule.

The current show, up through May, highlights three artists. Danielle Neibling, daughter of sculptor Judith Stewart at Davis Dominguez, creates abstract paintings and 3-D works. Barbara Gurwitz, known for dense paintings of villages and the like, has turned to largescale minimalist works. George Strasburger, a classical painter inspired by Goya is a "master in our midst," says the gallery's Athena Roesler.

100 E. Sixth St.; 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday; 360-8074.

Raices Taller 222 is open by appointment only for viewing the exhibition Viviendo Verde/Living Green, where all the artworks are made out of recycled material. One work, by artist Donna Stoner, is an 8-foot-tall junkyard guy whose head is an upside-down watering can. Through April 18.

218 E. Sixth St., www.raicestaller; appointment only. 881-5335.

Up in the Foothills, Jane Hamilton Fine Art is staying open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The March exhibition features traditional landscape painter Tom Murray, western painter Santos Barbosa, ceramicist Brian Beamish(cq), and wildlife painter Rose Collins. April brings the Spring Sculpture Show, surveying 15 sculptors in a year when the large-scale outdoor Sculpture Tucson show has been cancelled.

2890 E. Skyline Drive, Ste. 180, Plaza Colonial at SW corner of Skyline and Campbell; hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday; 529-4886.

Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, specializing in Native American and western art, including paintings by the revered Maynard Dixon, has temporarily eliminated Sunday hours. But it's open as usual 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 6872 E. Sunrise Drive #130;

Settlers West Galleries' new show Women Artists of the West 50th National Juried Exhibition runs March 25 to April 17. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. 6872 E. Sunrise Drive. 299-2607.

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