Pyramid Gallery’s virtual exhibition for these Strange Days in lockdown is growing daily

The Pyramid Gallery poster for the Strange Days virtual exhibition

IN response to York Open Studios 2020’s cancellation, Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett is stepping in with a lifeline to artists, offering the Stonegate gallery’s website as an online showcase at a much-reduced commission.

Its name prompted the lyrics of The Doors’ song from 1967, Strange Days is an “Art behind the doors” show that aptly is growing through springtime with new additions each day, trailed on Terry’s blog at

“We’ve opened the show to all York Open Studios artists and any York artists who already do business with the gallery, and I’ve lowered my commission to just 20 per cent, plus VAT, to make it work for them,” says Terry.

Delivery Creature, by Chiu-I Wu, one of the York Open Studios 2020 artists

“This enables York artists to show their new work to our customers, without a selection process, and allows them to earn more from each sale.

“The gallery is closed and my staff are furloughed, so I can operate with lower overheads during the Coronavirus lockdown, hopefully maintaining contact with my customers who are confined to their homes.”

For those living at a YO postcode, there will be free delivery of artworks, subject to the present lockdown restrictions. “So, delivery might be in a few weeks if the items cannot be sent through the post,” says Terry.

Terry Brett, on Stonegate, outside Pyramid Gallery

To complement the Pyramid virtual gallery, he has addressed the challenges presented to galleries by the Covid-19 pandemic in a candid piece on his blog.

Among the York Open Studios artists taking part in Strange Days are Kate Buckley; Peter Park; Jo Walton; Chiu-I Wu; Lesley Birch; Colin Black; Linda Combi; Zoe Catherine Kendall; Michelle Hughes; Sally Clarke; Adrienne French; Hacer Ozturk; Jill Tattersall; Karen Thomas; Kate Pettitt and Ruth Claydon. #

The second weekend of the 2020 event would have taken place on April 25 and 26.

WHAT’S STILL ON: Pyramid Gallery launches online exhibition for these Strange Days after York Open Studios cancelled

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett, on Stonegate, York, holding a work by Askrigg artist Piers Browne from the Full Sunlight exhibition

THE Coronavirus pandemic may have shut doors on next month’s York Open Studios, but Pyramid Gallery is stepping in to offer an online exhibition to York artists.

What’s more, gallery owner Terry Brett is calling this new service Strange Days, after the song of that title by The Doors. As rather more than one door closes, The Doors open new possibilities for a different form of Pyramid selling.

“This applies to artists who have sold through the gallery either recently or in the past, and we’re extending this invitation to any of 2020’s 144 York Open Studio artists,” says Terry.

“The artists will keep the work that they’re showing at their studio, and between them and the gallery, delivery will be arranged to the purchaser’s address if it is within a YO postcode.”

Terry has run Pyramid Gallery, in Stonegate, since 1994, says: “We need to survive in these Strange Days, and so do our artists. We noticed many posts on social media this week by worried artists who had heard that York Open Studios was cancelled.  We wanted to do something positive for them. It has given us an aim and lots of work to do, which is very useful for morale.”

Morale that he believes is under immediate threat from this week’s urgently announced Government financial policies in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. “I am disappointed by the ineffectiveness of government to make sensible and working decisions,” says Terry.

The brochure for the 2020 York Open Studios, adapted post-cancellation by participating York jewellery maker Jo Bagshaw

“While other European nations are protecting citizens and employees from economic crisis and worry, our Government seems unable to make the decision to support individuals and freelance workers or self-employed artists.

“These matters are being passed down to the community to resolve. It’s not a good approach. The Government should offer quickly to make payments to everyone, so that we know we can pay rents, employ people and buy essentials.”

Pyramid Gallery is reducing its normal commission to the artist for this event to 20 per cent plus VAT on each sale and is arranging the delivery free of charge to the customer.

“Some artists have already submitted work for the online show, and images are being placed on the website all the time,” says Terry. “The show will continue as long as there is a Coronavirus crisis.”

More details, and the Strange Days lyrics, can be found at

Pyramid Gallery continues to open its doors, Monday to Saturday, between 10am and 5pm, but will be closed on Sundays. On show until April 26 is Full Sunlight, an exhibition of etchings and paintings by Piers Browne, studio ceramics by Hannah Arnup, figurative sculptures by Helen Martino and glass by Fiaz Elson.

The artwork for The Doors’ Strange Days

Oh, spoiler alert, here are Jim Morrison’s 1967 lyrics to The Doors’ Strange Days:

Strange days have found us

Strange days have tracked us down

They’re going to destroy

Our casual joys

We shall go on playing

Or find a new town


Strange eyes fill strange rooms

Voices will signal their tired end

The hostess is grinning

Her guests sleep from sinning

Hear me talk of sin

And you know this is it


Strange days have found us

And through their strange hours

We linger alone

Bodies confused

Memories misused

As we run from the day

To a strange night of stone

Let’s look forward to the day when Pyramid Gallery can host an exhibition with another of The Doors’ titles, The End, but in a good way, not an Apocalypse Now way.