"The first official week or so at home was okay," Ink Lounge owner Stu Alden says. "I painted the doghouse, restored our old wheelbarrow, finished trimming up an interior door, etc. But after a few weeks turned into a month of not having any billable work, I became depressed."
Even though he could use his savings and a line of credit to reopen the shop and run it for six months after the stay-at-home order was lifted, printing posters for workshops and concerts was put on hold indefinitely, because so were the workshops and concerts.
"I realized, even when we reopened, I wasn't going to have any work," Alden says. "And that was a sobering moment."
A few weeks back, he decided to host an online art exhibit of screen prints to drum up some income. He started reaching out to artists, and decided to make the project more than just a revenue generator for the artists and the shop; he wanted to find a nonprofit to support. Ultimately, he landed on Access Gallery, a nonprofit space giving people with disabilities opportunities in the arts.
The exhibit, called Hope.HOME!, includes prints from more than 25 artists. There will be 100 copies of each, each selling for $30. The show includes works by Javier Flores, Dave Pendleton, John Fellows, Joe Flores, Alden and others.
One print commemorates the nightly howling; others tout unity, life's simple pleasures, the joy of making music, and even flaming toilet paper.
Alden's hope is that these prints not only console people during the pandemic, but remind them of their resilience and commitment to public health when they look back on this historical moment.
"Ultimately," he says, "by simply hanging on our walls, these prints will give us a chance to reflect and tell our tales from a time in history, where in order to give us hope for our families and communities, we were asked to stay at home."
Browse the show at the Ink Lounge website.