Rollins College, Cornell Fine Arts Museum

During the closure due to the COVID-19 crisis (starting March 16,2020) CFAM has created a more robust online presence, including a variety of virtual programs aimed at continuing to deliver on the mission of teaching with and through art. Highlights include:

At the start of COVID-19, in solidarity with museums from around the country, the museum began using the #MuseumFromHome to share original content such as virtual tours, collections’ care insights, projects for families, and the Work of the Week via our social media channels and website. The museum also participated in and encouraged others to get involved with collaborations across the field, such as #MuseumBouquet; #MuseumGames; and personal recreations of artist’s works from the
museum’s collection.

Videos focusing on less-known museum activities (such as installing and transporting works of art), and offering interactive educational activities (such as coloring books based on works in the collection and hands-on art making for families) are posted regularly.

The Work of the Week, chosen by a CFAM curator and shared through social media, highlights works from the collection which resonate with current events and emphasize the power of art to create community and empathy. Featured every Monday on the website, it includes new research on our
collection and emphasize the relevance of artistic production, education, and contemplation in times of crisis. Artists whose works have been featured to date include Lavinia Fontana, Albert Bierstadt, George Grosz, Cig Harvey, Tom Peterson, F. Holland Day, John White Alexander, Cobi Moules, Dawoud Bey, Jacob Lawrence, Patrick Martinez, Andrea Bowers, Emory Douglas, and Pedro Reyes.

The museum blog added a weekly feature, Research Highlights: Insights into the American Art Collection, in which CFAM’s American Art Research Fellow Grant Hamming shares new research funded by the Henry Luce

Foundation and aimed at recontextualizing our extensive American art collection, while at the same time making it more accessible to a wide community from near and far. To date, these blog posts have included insights into the work of artists such as Gilbert Stuart, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, James McDougal Hart, John Frederick Kensett, Tibor Pataky, Andrew Moore, Emory Douglas, Romare Bearden, etc.

Other blog posts connect with the reality of our current moment, and a society shaken by concurrent crises. Such was the case with The Power of Art in a World of Covid-19, written by Bruce A. Beal Director Ena Heller and which explored, back in March, how works of art reveal different layers of meaning as we grappled with the unprecedented conditions of the pandemic. Similarly, Change is Coming, written by Associate Curator of Education Elizabeth Coulter, connected art of our days with environmental activism as we celebrated Earth Day.

The museum’s Virtual Conversations started in June and are aimed to fill the gap left open by the impossibility to have in-person museum lectures. The series, which will continue through the fall, was kicked off by Curator Gisela Carbonell, Consulting Curator Abigail Ross Goodman and Bruce A. Beal Director Ena Heller in a dialogue about The Power of Art in Moments of Crisis through the lens of contemporary artists’ works. Grant Hamming followed with a presentation of his collection research in Wyoming Skies with Düsseldorf Eyes: Albert Bierstadt’s Frontier. For upcoming Conversations, please check our website or social media. Curator Gisela Carbonell is also continuing virtually her popular Spanish language tours, Arte Y Café Con La Curadora.

CFAM has recently received a grant from Art Bridges, Inc. to assist with virtual programming for our communities during the period of closure; the grant will help us expand and diversify our offerings in the next several months.