By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of major art shows, leaving artists nowhere to display their work.

One of those artists is Humberto Benitez whose colors jump off the canvas, thick bright hues that seem to move with a rhythm of yesterday’s Cuba.

Though he has nowhere to show, he tries to see the bright side of things as he continues to create and paint.

“I got a lot of happiness going on and in times like this, I think it is a necessity. I think that’s what our clients seek. My work is based on dance, music, and interaction with humanity,” he said.

As important as it is to see his canvases in person, to absorb and appreciate, Benitez said he and his fellow artists around the world are also in business – a business hurting in the midst of the pandemic.

“It is difficult for them because there is no show, no way for them to go out there and expose their work. We have a storefront but we are in the same boat. We can’t show the work because there is no gallery night, no movement,” he said.

With the Art Basel, Coconut Grove Art Show, and local shows canceled, Benitez said he and his fellow artists are worried.

He points out that when it comes to original work, a person who is willing to pay for it likes to see it in person, touch it, and truly appreciate it.

Benitez’s wife Lisette, who manages the Coral Gables Gallery which leans heavily on online purchases of originals and high-quality reproductions, hopes the site will drive potential clients to her husband’s gallery.

“We had to reconfigure the website to an online store and do a lot of work on Facebook and social media,” he said.

Benitez and other Coral Gables artists are also attempting to organize a virtual gallery night to expose their art to potential clients online.