In ordinary times, we are surrounded with information and a multitude of options for cultural experiences in the New York/Connecticut metropolitan area. For those of us who participate, our schedules can be very full if we take advantage of what is available.
When the shelter-in-place guidelines were put in place in mid-March due to the COVID-19 epidemic, many of us thought it might be 2 or 3 weeks. There were a couple of museum exhibitions that were just about to open the weekend of March 13/14, I remember well because I was looking forward to seeing them – Bisa Butler: Portraits at Katonah Museum of Art and the .EDU: Art Faculty of the Hudson Valley at Hudson Valley MOCA, as well as an artist talk by Derrick Adams at Hudson River Museum. There was also the Helmut Lang exhibition opening at MOCA Westport. It was shaping up to be a very busy weekend – but all had to be canceled or postponed.
As the situation persisted, museums, performance venues, theaters and other cultural organizations began to provide online content to their members and the public – exhibition slideshows and virtual tours, live-streaming and posts of recorded concerts and lectures, and using group meeting technology such as Zoom to conduct new online classes and for talkbacks/audience discussions after films and lectures. Social media has been a tremendous help in engaging with the public, with hashtags to follow and share information about new offerings, exhibition and performance images.
Many of these new initiatives are posted on our Online Events & Art Exhibitions page.
The unfortunate side of all of this is the toll it is taking, financially, on all of these cultural organizations. These institutions’ budgets are already tight, and they depend so much on visitation, membership and patronage. The struggle of how to navigate the situation in a period of such uncertainty, with no clear end in sight, makes it even more challenging.
Please consider donating to the museums, arts organizations, theaters and performance venues that enrich your life and help make our community so special.
Ways to show support are to renew or start a membership to a museum or arts organization, or purchasing tickets to fundraisers and upcoming festivals such as Caramoor Summer Music Festival and Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, which depend so much on their summer seasons.
For a list of over 60 cultural organizations in our community and surrounding regions, visit our Cultural Venues page for links to their websites.
I wish all of you good health and wellness during this very challenging time, and am grateful for all the hard work by these organizations to come up with such interesting online content and interactive events to keep our lives enriched and connected to our cultural community.
– Laura Schroeder
Photography credits (from top) – Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum: photograph courtesy of Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum · Bruce Museum: photograph courtesy of Bruce Museum · Katonah Museum of Art: photograph by Margaret Fox Photography, courtesy of Katonah Museum of Art · Neuberger Museum of Art: photograph by Laura Schroeder · Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts: photograph by Gabe Palacio, courtesy of Caramoor · Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival: photograph by William Marsh, courtesy of Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival · Quick Center for the Arts: photograph courtesy of Quick Center for the Arts · Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, SUNY: photograph courtesy of Performing Arts Center · Avon Theatre Film Center: photograph by Don Hamerman, courtesy of Avon Theatre · Jacob Burns Film Center: photograph by Russell Peborde, courtesy of Jacob Burns Film Center · Bedford Playhouse Home of Clive Davis Arts Center: photograph by Phillip Ennis Photography, courtesy of Bedford Playhouse · Ridgefield Playhouse: photograph by Laura Schroeder · Kykuit, The Rockefeller Estate: photograph by Laura Schroeder · The Glass House: photograph by Lane Coder, courtesy of The Glass House · Boscobel House and Gardens: photograph by Bill Irwin, courtesy of Boscobel · Lyndhurst: photograph courtesy of Lyndhurst · ArtsWestchester: photograph courtesy of ArtsWestchester · Wave Hill, A public garden and cultural center: photograph by Joshua Bright, courtesy of Wave Hill · Grace Farms Foundation: photograph by Dean Kaufman, courtesy of Grace Farms · Carriage Barn Arts Center: photograph courtesy of Carriage Barn Arts Center