Dear Members and Friends,
As the coronavirus has forced cultural institutions around the world to temporarily shut their doors, creativity has continued to flourish. Inventive digital offerings and postings have proliferated, from operas streaming online and theater performances on Zoom to virtual tours of exhibitions and online art classes.
One way to stay in touch with us while you’re staying home is to follow our Museum @newportartmuseum and #ArtWeLove on Instagram. Each day, we’ll share one artwork, either a piece from our permanent collection, art that was featured in a recent exhibition, or a unique object created by one of our social media followers. Consider it your recommended daily dose of art intake.
Since closing to the public March 16, our multi-talented staff members have edited and posted videos of our Winter Speaker Series lectures, recorded a series of “Tiny Tours,” which are minute-long presentations on artworks included in our Annual Juried Exhibition, and created art-making tutorials.
Needless to say, we’re looking forward to welcoming you back into our galleries and school as we believe the most meaningful arts engagement involves experiencing the actual artwork with others in real time.
Over the next few weeks, please remember that even a pandemic can’t impede the human imagination. As art critic Jerry Saltz recently remarked, “Creativity was with us in the caves.”
Norah Diedrich, Executive Director
The safety and well-being of our visitors, students, staff, and volunteers are always our highest priorities. We will continue to closely follow the recommendations of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and State of Rhode Island, as well as stay up-to-date with local developments. Public health and wellness is truly a community-wide effort, and we take it seriously. As of now, our Museum remains closed to the public. We will continue to provide regular updates on our website, by email, and on social media. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the past year, thanks to the generous support of our donors, I’ve had the pleasure of watching several significant capital improvements come to fruition: from a new roof on our historic Cushing Building to redesigned studios in our art school to a refurbished apartment in our Griswold House, now ready for an artist to join us as our first Artist-in-Residence.
Yet, from my perspective, the most transformational activities took place in our galleries. The artists, along with the profound issues that inspired their works, were featured in exhibitions such as “The Shapes of Birds: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa,” “Lalla Essaydi from “Converging Territories” to “Harem Revisited,” William Kentridge “StereoScope,” and Jodie Mim Goodnough “Biophilia.” These exhibitions offered our visitors an opportunity to view the world and world events through someone else’s eyes.
Thoughtful, animated and sometimes heated conversations were sparked. Individual comments were shared through our in-gallery interactive platform, Feedback Loop. Our accompanying public programs provided further opportunities for artists, academics and audiences to continue the dialogue and learn from and about each other.
Ralph Rugoff, the curator of the current Venice Biennale, recently remarked: “the exhibition will aim to underscore the idea that the meaning of artworks are not embedded principally in objects but in conversations . . . what is most important about an exhibition is not what it puts on display, but how audiences can use their experience of the exhibition afterwards, to confront everyday realities from expanded viewpoints and with new energies.” I couldn’t agree more.
I’ll look forward to seeing you in our galleries soon in hopes of striking up a conversation inspired by the art on view.