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A message from Paul Provost, CEO and the Art Bridges staff

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The Bridge Ahead Initiative

Supporting our museum partners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • All of us at Art Bridges recognize the unprecedented financial challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to support our partners during these uncertain times, Art Bridges launched the Bridge Ahead Initiative in May 2020. This initiative commits nearly $6 million to help partner museums develop strategies to engage and connect with communities remotely while museums are closed.

    Below we’ve highlighted some of the incredible work of our partners. Art Bridges continues our efforts in support of our partners through the uncertainties of reopening and continuing to engage audiences in new and inventive ways.

    Barkley L. Hendricks, Brenda P., 1974

    Barkley L. Hendricks, Brenda P, 1974, Oil on canvas, 72 x 50 in. Art Bridges. Photo concept courtesy of Jonathan Cohen and Binghamton University Art Museum. © Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of the artist’s estate and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Art Museum of South Texas (AMST)

Loteria game packets

  • Finding new ways to connect and keep art fun in South Texas

    The Art Museum of South Texas (AMST) has worked to keep their community engaged through the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. In an effort to keep art fun, the museum has created AMST Lotería games. The game packets have been provided to area assisted living centers so residents can enjoy this traditional Mexican card game.

      In addition, the museum created a web page where visitors can download printable game sheets and Lotería cards online. Those playing the online version of the game are instructed to use the digitally shuffled cards at the bottom of the web page to play.

        Lotería is a traditional Mexican game of chance similar to bingo using images on a deck of cards.

          Loteria game packets from AMST

        Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

        digital experience

        • Improving digital access while closed in Hartford, Connecticut

          As the United States’ oldest continuously-operating public art museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art has long believed in inspiring experiences with its collection, which its newly launched virtual tours make possible.

            As part of its partnership with Art Bridges, the Wadsworth sought to redesign its website to facilitate better navigation and accessibility of its online programs. As part of this digital suite, its virtual tours allow guests to self-navigate through five permanent collection spaces, including its beloved Morgan Great Hall.

              The Hall’s tour captures the experience of visiting its three-story high gallery, which includes its soaring walls and up-close, 360 degree views of some of the Wadsworth’s most famed works. Enjoyed by both local and a global audiences, the tour has performed strongly on the Museum’s social platforms and is critical in keeping the public connected to its collection.

                From the curious child to the seasoned researcher, the tours not only seek to activate the galleries, but give the opportunity for everyone to participate in the life of the museum wherever they call home.


                Morgan Great Hall: American and European Paintings This tour was sponsored by Art Bridges.

              Frye Art Museum

              virtual tours, art projects, videos

              • Finding new ways to stay connected from Seattle, Washington

                Before reopening on November 5, 2020, the Frye Museum had been closed for almost eight months. During this time, the museum worked to stay connected to their community online, including launching a new Frye From Home website.

                  Thanks in part to funding from the Bridge Ahead Initiative, Frye Museum launched Frye From Home on March 23rd. The site includes a wide range of arts related content, including virtual tours, art projects, guided artwork discussions, and more. Content is divided into Watch, Make and Read sections.

                    The museum faced financial hardship through the pandemic, slowing their ability to provide remote programs and post regularly to social media. The new site allowed them to share content from a central resource and remain in contact with the community.

                    "Frye Families: Focus on Faces" at home activity

                  National Museum of Wildlife Art

                  webinars, mobile tours, virtual exhibits, video production, reopening

                  • Expanding digital offerings and reopening safely in Jackson, Wyoming

                    The National Museum of Wildlife Art has expanded their digital offerings to remain in touch with audiences during the pandemic. Funds from the Bridge Ahead Initiative supported the development of eleven educational Zoom webinars, new and enhanced bilingual mobile tours (via the museum’s mobile apps) and virtual exhibit tours.

                      In addition, the museum premiered its educational video series, Bisoncast, on YouTube. Bisoncast reaches a global audience online, promoting intellectual access, equity and inclusion.

                          Phase two BAI funds were used to help the museum reopen after a two-month closure. In addition to a “Welcome back” ad campaign, funds were used to purchase plexiglass barriers, face masks, hand sanitizer stations, floor decals and signage.

                          National Museum of Wildlife Art Bisoncast

                          Filming an episode of Bisoncast.

                        Baltimore Museum of Art

                        art kits

                        • Connecting with families digitally while closed in Baltimore, Maryland

                          The Baltimore Museum of Art reopened on September 16, 2020 after being closed for six months. During this time, the museum developed resources to serve members of the community remotely, including educators and families.

                            Thanks to Bridge Ahead Initiative funding, the museum developed a “Free Family Sundays at Home” program. This art program provides free art making kits, filled with art supplies and resources. Kits were distributed each Sunday afternoon at the museum. The kits have also been distributed at a BMA branch location each Friday.

                              Free Family Sundays at Home kit projects have included coloring sheets, watercolor dye making, handmade bead crafting, creating an art installation and more. The dedicated web page provides easy access to the projects and instructions.

                              Baltimore Museum of Art Free Family Sundays at Home art kit

                              Baltimore Museum of Art "Free Family Sundays at Home" art kit

                            Thomas Cole National Historic Site

                            outdoor explore kits

                            • Rethinking the visitor experience in Catskill, New York

                              While the Thomas Cole National Historic Site has closed its buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the grounds remain open. At the beginning of summer, audiences were invited to experience a new way to visit the site with Outdoor Explore Kits including outdoor guided tours.

                                The outdoor tours allow guests to join a Museum Educator for a 45-minute introduction to Thomas Cole, his home and studios, and his inspiring view of the Catskill Mountains.

                                  Kits are available in “Basic” and “Family” versions and are filled with an itinerary and activities to support an extended visit to the site.

                                    Learn more about outdoor programming on the site’s website.

                                      Outdoor Explore Kit at Thomas Cole National Historic Site

                                      Outdoor Explore Kit at Thomas Cole National Historic Site

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