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Helping local artists through COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 7:16 AM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 08:16:56-05

TULSA, Okla. — With so many festivals and fairs canceled this past year, the pandemic has been rough on artists.

However, we're introducing you to some local artists with a creative solution.

"This has been a little bit of a saving grace for a lot of artists," said Martha Wells with Hummingbird Fine Craft.

When Hummingbird Fine Craft opened one year ago this week, they knew they had something special. But, they had no idea how critical this store would become.

“Never in our wildest dreams did we anticipate something so catastrophic as the pandemic,” said Wells.

Hummingbird, named after the famed Leon Russell song, is Oklahoma’s only artists’ cooperative.

This art gallery, in studio row, is owned and operated by a team of nearly a dozen Tulsa artists.

“We run the store, we staff the store, everything is made here and we do all of our functions ourselves. So it is a complete effort on our part as a group,” said Wells.

The result? One hundred percent of the proceeds go right back to the artist. The store is filled with locally made artisan goods.

Customer Dee Jansen said, “It’s a lot of variety in one space. And the artists are just wonderful!”

You’ll find everything from paintings to pillows and jewelry to jars.

Lori Beth McDonald sells her handcrafted honey here.

“The art of beekeeping!” said McDonald

She lost a third of her Okie Bee Farms income due to canceled fairs and festivals. Her sales in this store sustain her.

McDonald said, “When people buy, for me as a person here in town, they are supporting a local neighbor who is trying to make their house payment and their car payment and feed their family. So, this was really a blessing for me.”

Having a place where people can go to purchase the artists’ work gives these creators certainty in uncertain times.

“The Tulsa community is very generous, and to become aware of a gem like this, it’s good thing,” said Jansen.

And now with a year under its belt, Hummingbird is planning for the future. The gallery hopes to expand, add members, and hold outdoor community events here when it’s safe.

McDonald said, “What do you think Leon Russell would think about this? I think he would think it’s awesome.”

Hummingbird fine craft - Proof that when the going gets tough, the tough get creative.

“Difficult but we were determined to do it,” said Wells.

CLICK HERE for more information on Hummingbird Fine Craft.

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