Thursday, April 9, 2020

MAM is for all of us, forever

spencer finch at montclair art museum

Dear Members, Friends, and Neighbors,

Over the past month the COVID‐19 pandemic has engulfed the world. This is an exceedingly challenging period for our local community and nation as a whole.
While the arts have historically been a balm in troubled times, today’s unprecedented crisis requires the Montclair Art Museum (MAM) to temporarily shutter its programs, exhibitions and classes, a necessary hunker‐down for the greater good. While MAM’s doors are closed, our hearts and minds remain open. The museum’s curators, educators, docents, trustees and other staff and volunteers—400 individuals all‐told—are committed to finding new ways to help our community. Art’s power to uplift spirits and heal knows no boundaries.

The MAM Art Truck, usually seen serving up art projects at schools and festivals, is today on loan to Toni’s Kitchen Food Pantry delivering donated groceries to neighbors in need. In addition, MAM has donated boxes of surgical‐grade gloves to first responders, and MAM supporters have joined with representatives of Partners for Health and Montclair Foundation to deliver meals to emergency room doctors and nurses at Hackensack Mountainside Hospital. Serving our health‐care angels can help heal others and us, too.

During the hunker‐down, MAM aims to give its members and friends and their families online opportunities for art making, appreciation and education. Our staff is busy creating digital content for the museum’s website and social media outlets. This month Virtual MAM will roll out podcasts, art classes, artist‐studio tours and other creative activities—a growing roster of opportunities for self‐enrichment and care‐of‐spirit even while we are physically separated. Let’s continue to learn together while we’re apart.

Since 1914, MAM’s core mission has been to connect Northern New Jersey’s people to the arts and to one another. Since MAM’s Centennial in 2014, Spencer Finch’s Yellow, a light‐box installation, has enhanced MAM’s front widows. The artwork’s red, blue and green vertical lines are visible upon close inspection, but when viewed from the street the windows emit a warm yellow overtone. Like the incandescent light that emanates from homes, MAM’s windows signal family, safety and welcome. Yellow will remain a beacon of hope throughout MAM’s closure. With an inspirational spirit honed during a century of service, we look forward to welcoming you back in the not‐too‐distant future. MAM is for all of us, forever.

In the meantime, take good care of yourselves and your loved ones. Our hearts are with you all. And please stay in touch by sending your ideas, questions and suggestions to director@montclairartmuseum.org.

Warmly,
MAM’s Staff, Trustees and other Volunteers