Myra’s Art Gallery has been a staple in Pine since 1993, when Myra Kraemer and her husband Ed opened their first shop on Highway 87 in downtown Pine across from the post office. Now, because of the impact of COVID-19, the gallery is closing.

Bill Ahrendt said it best when he told the gathering at the store’s 25th anniversary party that Myra’s Gallery was the “heart and soul” of the community.

It’s easy to understand why this general feeling of community pops to mind when Myra and her gallery are mentioned. She and her artists have supported nearly every community event ever conceived or held in Pine. And that is no exaggeration. From the Shop Hop in Pine to Chair-ish, to after school art classes and activities for kids, Myra and her dedicated group of artists stood ready to lend a hand.

Myra and Ed moved to Strawberry in 1991, escaping California traffic, noise, pollution and a hectic schedule that did not leave much time or energy for creative endeavors. Myra envisioned a more peaceful lifestyle. And the residents of P-S and the students of the Pine School are the direct recipients of this restoration of health and wellness.

The decision to close the gallery came after long deliberations. By closing the store, and remaining in isolation, Myra and Ed can stay healthy and safe.

Myra is planning to remain active at home, painting commission work and taking orders for custom frames. As always, Myra will stay in touch with her artists and will keep running a list of stores and galleries that will continue to feature their work.

Myra is dyslectic and cannot read or write. As a child, she was reprimanded frequently at school because she could not catch on to reading, spelling or numbers. Her parents were advised to place her in an institution for the severely mentally handicapped. Myra’s mother was outraged. She would not agree to such nonsense. Myra could express herself in art even at a young age.

Myra and her nine siblings were raised on a ranch outside the town of Wisdom, Mont. The winters were long, harsh and bitterly cold. It was a hard life; yet Myra’s mother was an optimistic person with a can-do spirit and she passed these traits on to her daughter.

Myra feels at home in Pine. It is a community that has a long tradition of caring for others.

This commitment to community is strongly held and firmly rooted. Myra’s time is frequently consumed with visits to the nursing home; making soup for a sick friend; or picking up groceries for someone who no longer drives. These simple acts of kindness are the cornerstone of Myra’s personality and worldview.

There’s not a lot more to add to this story, except that it is not over. As of this writing, everyone is healthy. For Myra, it is a time to fall back, calm down, let patience be a guiding light and rest up for whatever comes next.

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