My first day as the Museum’s Executive Director was April 1, 2015. It hardly seems like six years – time flies when you’re having fun!
Thanks to the support of Museum staff and trustees, donors, members, artists, educators, volunteers, program partners, and visitors, we’ve been able to expand the Museum’s reach and serve new audiences.
With appreciation to all those mentioned above, we’ve confronted one of the most challenging periods in our institution’s history, i.e. the coronavirus pandemic, with a proactive, nimble and creative response. Over the past year, we’ve offered over 100 virtual programs, attended by thousands of individuals from across the country. We’ve provided exceptional in-person experiences with exhibitions such as “Andy Warhol: Big Shot,” a world-renowned artist who has exhibited and attended openings at our Museum in the past. Our educational outreach programs have continued. We’ve recently welcomed new trustees and staff. We’ve added significant artworks to our permanent collection, including the largest gift of photography in our Museum’s history. And our Museum has been open to the public after a temporary closing of only four months in spring 2020. The direct support of over $600,000 in PPP, CARES Act grants and other funding has helped enable our Museum to continue its mission-driven programming.
While I’m extremely proud of how we’ve weathered the past year, I’m now focused on and encouraged by our prospects for 2021 and beyond. Our recently adopted strategic plan, “INSIGHT 2020: A New Direction for a New Decade,” is intended to build upon our strengths and anticipate future opportunities. One important component of our plan is evaluation. We’ll be measuring our progress and making improvements along the way.
The recent resilience evidenced by the Newport Art Museum is really nothing new. A century before my start date, in the midst of World War I, a new charter was adopted that expanded the Art Association of Newport’s mission to encompass a variety of art disciplines, art education and the establishment of a public art museum. We continue to ‘Carry the Torch’ for one of our most forward-thinking founders, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Maud Howe Elliott (November 9, 1854 – March 19, 1948). Here’s to a bright future!
Norah Diedrich, (she, her, hers) / Executive Director