Steamboat Springs Business has been slower at Steamboat Springs art galleries, but sales haven't dried up completely - they just look different.
"Our volume is OK, but we're not selling as many big, pricey pieces," said Todd Savalox, owner of Images of Nature. The gallery is one of 14 nationwide that sells images by nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen. People still are buying that work, but they're not buying it in 4-by-6-foot prints, Savalox said.
"As a group of 14 galleries in the country, our traffic in our stores is down about 30 percent," Savalox said. The store is running a promotion offering free framing for a Mangelsen print, and it is selling the works at lowered prices.
Sleeping Giant Gallery also is running a free framing promotion for photos by co-owner Don Tudor and paintings by co-owner Cully Kistler. The gallery moved to a more visible location in summer 2008, so comparatively, its business and customer traffic are way up this season. But Kistler and Tudor are doing what they can now to break even during the off-season, Kistler said.
The gallery has discounted prints by 25 percent; Kistler said those have been selling well, along with smaller original works.
"I've noticed I'm selling more of the smaller paintings than a mix," she said.
Print sales have been a factor for some of the 28 co-owners at Artists' Gallery of Steamboat. Paula Jo Jaconetta, a photographer at the gallery, said she's sold at least one original piece each month this winter - but not all the co-op's artists have been selling work, she said.
"People have been thinking about buying out if they don't have sales," Jaconetta said. One artist has resigned from the gallery, and two will take leaves of absence, she said. The gallery's owners have been meeting to work out how many artists the business needs to function and have been working on surveying members about what the co-op needs to sustain through the economic downturn, she said.
Jaconetta is hopeful things will pick up and said a few gallery artists sold large pieces off the wall at the March 6 First Friday Artwalk reception.
"I feel that the people that have the money still have the money and are buying art," Jaconetta said, expressing her hope for better sales in March. "This is the month things are changing. I'm hoping this is the month they'll start to get better."