Donation campaign launched to help The Art Shoppe in Minneapolis reopen amid pandemic

The Art Shoppe in Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis has been closed since mid-March due to COVID-19 concerns and the civil unrest. (FOX 9)

For more than three months, the storefront where Diane May volunteers once a week has been closed. Now, May and the 70 other artists who staff and manage The Art Shoppe are hoping to get back in business.

"I'm pretty excited about it because I didn't know if this was the end," said May.

The Art Shoppe opened in the Midtown Global Market 11 years ago as a consignment store for local artists, including some who were experiencing homelessness, to sell their work directly to customers. The shop had to close in mid-March because of the coronavirus and plans to open back up were delayed by the civil unrest along East Lake Street following the death of George Floyd.

"They boarded up all of Midtown Global Market,” said May. “There was some looting that happened inside. Fortunately, The Art Shoppe itself wasn't hit, but neighbors were."

One of the artists launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $12,000 to help reopen the shop. May says the money will go towards business expenses and personal protection equipment, like a plexiglass barrier, masks and hand sanitizer the store needs to keep volunteers and customers safe.

"While everyone was sheltering in place, rent was still accruing here at The Art Shoppe,” she said. “Somebody has to pay the lights and the telephone bills and all the things that come with reopening up the shop."

May says the shop is an important source of income for many of the artists who sell their work there because the majority of the festivals where they make most of their money have been canceled because of the pandemic. Being back in business as soon as possible would be a masterpiece.

"No one saw this coming,” she said. “We need a viable storefront for people to be able to come in or this doesn't work as a business.”

The Art Shoppe hopes to reopen in time for Midtown Global Markets grand reopening on July 18. For more information, click here.