The Belen Art League had to close its doors in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jo’l Moore

We cancelled our scholarship tea, our spring art show, the Tumbleweed Festival and many more planned events. Being a nonprofit, we rely heavily on these fundraisers to be able to pay our bills and make contributions to the community.

While faced with uncertainty, we continued to be hopeful. Without the Mad Hatter Tea event, we would not have the funds to give out our annual scholarship but we decided to take applications in the chance that a miracle would take place.

With deep gratitude, I can report that we’ve been greatly blessed. We received an anonymous donation in the exact amount needed for the scholarship.

Now, even without the tea, we can help one of our town’s high school student in their endeavor to attend college. And, it didn’t stop there. Many of those who had purchased tickets to the tea are donating their ticket sales back to the gallery or rolling them over for next year’s tea.

Most of the vendors for the Tumbleweed Festival have also donated their space fee back to the Art League. Thank you to everyone for your generous hearts.

If you had purchased tickets for the Mad Hatter Tea you have three options. One is to donate that $10 back to the gallery. If you choose to do this, you do not have to call the gallery.

Another is to roll the ticket over for next year’s tea. In this case, you do need to call the gallery and give our gallery manager your information. The third option is to go to the gallery and ask for a refund.

We opened our doors again on Saturday, May 16 and the response was tremendous. What a wonderful feeling to be back in the saddle and able to share the work of our local artists with the community.

We hope restrictions will continue to lift so that we can hold our kid’s summer program and our annual paint and sips. In the meantime, we are limiting admission into the gallery to only five persons at a time and masks are required. We have a great selection of hand-crafted masks for only $5.

An important coping device to help you stay sane while dealing with COVID-19 is to stay focused on small blessings and little miracles like the hummingbirds in your yard or the blooms in your garden.

The Belen Art League is one of our city’s blessings and visiting our gallery may be good for your physical and mental health. Many people have begun working on small arts or craft projects during this stay-at-home time.

A walk through our gallery could prove to be inspiring and invigoration. It will give you an opportunity to free your mind of worry and fear while remembering that despite everything, we are surrounded by beauty and that miracles can happen.

(Jo’l Moore is the president of the Belen Art League Gallery and Gifts. Contact her at belenartleague@yahoo.com or call 861-0217.)

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Jo'l Moore, guest columnist

Jo’l Moore is the president of the Belen Art League Gallery and Gifts. Contact her at belenartleague@yahoo.com or call 861-0217