Looking Forward to Enjoying Art with You Again
—Online and at the Museum
Allow me to share what we are doing to be there for you, our Museum family, at this uncertain and difficult time in your lives. We may have closed the doors to the buildings, but we never locked our gates and many of you have been strolling our paths among flowering cherry trees and the arboretum trails as they spring back to life. Art lovers can still experience our world-class sculpture collection, complete with new additions, and get their much-needed fix of the beauty of art, nature and fresh air. Safety is paramount. We encourage all our visitors to follow the advice of medical experts and maintain a safe distance from others while enjoying the grounds, and it has been gratifying to see that everybody is following these rules of common courtesy. When it is time to come back inside, we will continue to be the safest, most intimate cultural destination of its kind in the New York region, where it has always been possible for individuals, couples and families to roam our quiet galleries, enjoying the work of international art stars without the crowds.
When the moment comes, and it will, you will find a new show that is perfectly suited to the moment, a spectacular celebration of the color blue that is like a breath of pure air, taking us all away to a serenity that has become rare. While we wait for that to happen, we are busily packing our website (nassaumuseum.org) with enhanced content, including videos (here), fun-filled art history, guides to the outdoor sculpture and a virtual tour of the new exhibition (here). There is something for everyone coming to our site, for families, students and teachers, gallery-goers and lifelong learners. We are looking ahead, planning future exhibitions, including a timely celebration of women in the history of American art that features major works by the “9th Street Women,” stars of a recent bestselling book and a coming television series, as well as a ravishingly beautiful survey of global Impressionism.
This has been a time, as well, to spend our days reflecting on why art matters and how we best serve the community, as teachers and stewards of the cultural and natural riches that are easy to take for granted. Our late nights are troubled by an anxiety, shared by so many, not just about our neighbors’ well-being, but over how we will survive financially, so we ask you, if you have the means, to consider making a small contribution here to help us through this time of uncertainty. So often you have sustained us with your generosity, but never was the fiscal challenge of keeping the doors open so dire.
Art’s role in society is enhanced at moments like this. Think of John Keats, not only one of the greatest poets of the English tradition but a doctor by training who bravely nursed his brother during an outbreak of tuberculosis. The opening line of Endymion has become a proverb for those of us who share his faith in the enduring power of art as a “friend to man,” while the last line is uncannily appropriate:
A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness, but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.