Art Exhibits Austin. Despite having received official permission from Texas Governor that museums will be able to officially reopen at the end of April due to the lifting of the state's stay-at-home order, many art museums across the state have announced that they will be remaining closed until further notice.
The Director of the Dallas Museum of Art released a statement, which includes the following:
“Part of our responsibility to our staff and community is to ensure that they feel safe and welcome in our building. With that in mind, we are working through various reopening scenarios, taking into account new health and safety measures that would need to be implemented, as well as guidance from federal, state, and local officials.”
The institution also posted the following on their official Twitter page:
“We are aware of the inclusion of museums in the state's Phase 1 plan to reopen. With the health and safety of our visitors and staff as our top priority, we will not open on May 1st. We will confirm a re-opening timeline as soon as we can do so with the proper measures in place.”
Contemporary Austin also echoed the same statement, in which they stated that they have started to develop sanitation plans for both of their locations in order to be ready if and when it will be safe for them to reopen. A further statement went on to state the following:
“This would happen in phases, and would begin by allowing some essential staff to return to work with staggered schedules to allow for necessary social distancing. Eventually the public would be allowed to return in limited numbers.”
Other institutions who have stated that they will remain closed until further notice despite Governor Abbott's permission to reopen include the following:
Those museums that do choose to reopen have been mandated by Governor Abbott to not utilize any touchable or interactive programs. This includes all play areas and immersive exhibitions, both of which are expected to create a great strain on both childrens' and science museums alike.
Despite the current closures, many museums and art galleries throughout the state have taken the step of sharing art digitally. For instance, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, which officially shut its doors back on March 16th, officially launched their first Virtual Open Studio on Instagram the following day. This interactive option enabled individuals to create a mock-up of their own homes using markers, paper, and various recycled materials. Additionally, Contemporary Arts Museum Austin has also started to host virtual drop-in experiences, which are designed to feature guided discussions and pop-up activities including online art classes and virtual art exhibit tours.
Art Exhibits Austin. Overall, it appears that local art galleries and museums will be closed until further notice due to the continued threat of COVID-19. Although everyone is anxious to physically jump back into their local art community - it seems they will be waiting a little bit longer. Thankfully throughout this difficult time, art galleries and museums have found ways to keep their audience connected and up to date on how they are adjusting during the ongoing pandemic. The local art scene is a strong community of people that support, create, and inevitably will make it through to the other side. During this hard time be sure to reach out to your local artists, art galleries, museums, & local art non-profits to see what you can do to support!