The last few weeks have been unlike anything that any of us have known: confusing, frightening, almost dizzying in the speed at which advice, news, and our daily patterns have changed. Ironically, as the Hunterdon Art Museum staff transitioned from working in our beautiful historic building to our homes, life didn’t slow down. It quickened.
The big view is overwhelming, but we must remember that we’re all in this together. We can control only to a certain degree the overriding worry and most important question: will our families and friends be safe. That uncertainty never leaves us, and other issues, such as thoughts about school and our jobs, continue to concern us. For me, those thoughts involved HAM. How could the Museum stay in the lives of all of us? How would our classes run if they could not take place within our studios? How could people see our exhibitions? How could we continue to bring art to HAM members, students, and friends? How could we help the community with our doors closed?
Slowly, the answers formed, and they continue to evolve. Thanks to our fantastic staff, we created virtual tours of our exhibitions, which have been featured in multiple onlinepublications and viewed by thousands around the world. We began running remote adult classes, which, like our meetings, are happening on Zoom. Strangely, Zoom now feels like home. We are transitioning our spring break mini-camp to fun art activities that will be done at home. Boxes of projects and supplies will arrive at doorsteps, and we are excited to see the results of projects done by those who just a few weeks ago had planned on being in our studios. Our Art Prompts Series, part of our new blog section, brings you beautiful images of work HAM has exhibited and some prompts for thinking about them in a new way.
We are still trying to figure out if remote children’s classes can be successful. We welcome advice from those who have experience working with children remotely so that we can engage our spring students in fun and meaningful ways. Will summer camp run? We hope so and are planning for our summer season, but we realize we need other options and are working on plans. There is still much we are figuring out and, like you, tackling each day while looking toward the future.
For many of us, art is an essential part of life. Making and creating or the sheer joy of seeing a beautiful piece of artwork is what makes us who we are. Hunterdon Art Museum is committed to bringing you art during and after these uncertain times. You can join us by taking a class, watching a virtual tour, reading our new blog, and sharing your creativity with us. We’re in this together.
If you are in a position to help us while our doors are closed and while we continue to keep staff working to bring you virtual exhibitions and programs for children and adults, you may be interested in knowing that the federal coronavirus relief bill gives an above-the-line deduction of up to $300 for charitable deductions.
We look forward to seeing all of you when our doors reopen. Until then and after, we will continue to bring you art in all its many forms.