On March 17, the SCAD Museum of Art was forced to close over concerns about the dangers of COVID-19. Almost six months later, on Thursday, they’ll once again open their doors with a full slate of new exhibitions.
"I'm delighted to re-open Georgia's two finest museums — SCAD FASH [Museum of Fashion and Film] and SCAD Museum of Art — to the public," said Paula Wallace, President and Founder of the university.
Amongst the new shows that visitors can see upon returning to the gallery are the visually sumptuous "Feast and Famine" by Emily Mae Smith, "NO. This Is Not the Color of Flesh," Edgar Sanchez Cumbas’ exhibition of paintings and drawings exploring subjects like colorism and identity, and Carrie Mae Weems’ "RESIST COVID TAKE 6!," which tackles the racial inequities that have emerged during the pandemic.
"Art, and contemporary art in particular, allows us to see our world and ourselves in new ways," explained Kari Herrin, SCAD’s Executive Director of Museums and Exhibitions.
"Our current exhibitions feature artists of varied backgrounds, nationalities, generations, and mediums. Each artist approaches their work with a distinct point of view that enriches our perspectives as viewers. Even when the artists are engaging with difficult issues, ultimately the viewing experience offers a sense of hope."
Along with the variety of new work on display, guests can also explore the museum’s permanent collections, such as The Walter O. Evans collection of African American Art or The Earle W. Newton Collection of British and American Art.
The museum has added a number of new safety protocols to ensure that guests can feel safe while exploring the latest offerings. In addition to limiting gallery capacity, requiring masks to be worn at all times, and pressing for six feet of social distancing between patrons, each visitor will have their temperature checked at the door, with those showing elevated numbers being denied entry. Furthermore, touch points will be frequently sanitized throughout the day, and the space will undergo a deep cleaning each night.
"As a university, we feel a deep sense of responsibility to our community to not only keep them safe through rigorous safety measures but to educate them about best practices and preventative measures that will save lives," said Herrin.
"That is our intent in presenting Carrie Mae Weems’ RESIST COVID TAKE 6! campaign, both at the museum and in our local communities, a project that has included outreach to our most vulnerable populations.
"Visitors to the museum can expect enhanced safety measures practicing the latest CDC guidelines and they can feel confident that their fellow museum guests will be respectful and courteous," she added.
With the knowledge that the museum is a safe space during a time where fear and worry are naturally elevated, Herrin hopes that SCAD MOA will act as a respite from the stress of the last six months of uncertainty.
"As a teaching museum we always hope that visitors leave our galleries having opened up some new little part of their mind that maybe they didn’t realize was there before," she said. "Experiencing art is also a practice in mindfulness. You need to be fully present. So in that way, we hope that our visitors gain a little peace or feel in some way restored, whether that’s emotionally, mentally, or physically."
"Our exhibitions this fall are all exceptionally imaginative and truly fascinating," added Herrin. "We hope that our visitors will be as captivated by these artists as we are."
The SCAD Museum of Art is located at 601 Turner Blvd. Its new hours are Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
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