MONCTON, N.B. -- The owner of a New Brunswick art gallery has created an online forum to help artists who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matheiu Hebert owns Acorn Studio in Moncton, N.B. His new digital venture allows a customer to see how a piece of art will look on their wall, while it’s still in the store.

“You look for a little button that says ‘try your room’ and from there you follow the steps,” says Hebert.

“Take a picture of your wall in question and then you can just see every artwork in accurate size on your wall.”

Artist Pierre-Luc Arseneau just moved to Moncton and set up a workplace in the basement of the Acorn Studio. He believes virtual stores will be what keeps many artists going.

“As a freelance artist, it’s not easy during this pandemic to get through it, so being online is definitely going to be something that needs to be done,” says Arseneau.

The site became operational in July. Hebert says it will be beneficial not only to artists, but also to those looking to buy art.

“Now we can offer it to many, many artists all over the Maritimes and it’s not just limited to a physical store, so we can broaden our collection with our online forum,” says Hebert.

Although the program was created out of necessity when the COVID-19 pandemic affected traditional methods of displaying art for sale, it may stick around post-pandemic as another way for artists to get noticed.

“It’s great because it’s a gallery with everything in it. It’s got the small stuff, the big stuff, artists that are very well-known and beginners as well. It’s a great variety, I think it’s fantastic,” says artist Melissa Legresley.