BRATTLEBORO — Having been closed since March 15, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) will reopen to the public on Thursday, June 18. Going forward, BMAC will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. In recognition of the financial uncertainty faced by many, admission will be on a “pay-as-you-wish” basis.
Visitors to the museum will be required to wear face coverings and abide by physical distancing requirements. Although BMAC is currently permitted to admit as many as 75 visitors at a time, attendance will be limited to a maximum of 40. Visitors may walk in unannounced, as always, or may make reservations and pay admission at brattleboromuseum.org in advance.
“We are thrilled to be able to welcome visitors to the museum once again,” said BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld. “In this time of great uncertainty and anguish, both personal and societal, we hope our exhibits will offer visitors a measure of hope, inspiration and relief.”
Eight new exhibits opened March 14 at BMAC. Several of them had been in development for years beforehand, but as result of the coronavirus pandemic, they were shuttered the next day and have gone unseen in the three months since. Those exhibits were originally scheduled to come down in June, but they have been extended through Oct. 12.
The new exhibits include two focused on homelessness, developed by BMAC in partnership with Groundworks Collaborative and supported by a grant from the Thomas Thompson Trust. Taking its title from the number of people who were unsheltered in America in 2018, “Steven Kinder: 552,830” features larger-than-life painted portraits of people experiencing homelessness whom Kinder has met through the years in New York City. Complementing Kinder’s work is Brattleboro artist Liz LaVorgna’s multimedia project “Coffee & Conversation: Stories of Homelessness,” an updated version of her 2015 collaboration with filmmaker Wyatt Andrews.
“Alison Wright: Grit and Grace, Women at Work” consists of 28 large photographic portraits showcasing the strength and perseverance of women around the world working to survive and to transform their communities. BMAC will host an online talk with Wright, sponsored by the Vermont Women’s Fund, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 25.
“Roger Clark Miller: Transmuting the Prosaic” is an installation featuring video, sound and modified vinyl records. Miller is a co-founder of the art-punk band Mission of Burma and a member of Alloy Orchestra. The installation at BMAC marks the first time Miller has exhibited his visual art.
Another site-specific installation, “Steven Rose: For/While (2020.01),” gives viewers the opportunity to experience the artist’s interpretation of a phenomenon he encountered during a 5.8-magnitude earthquake, which he describes as a “sublime folding of chaos into order.” Rose will discuss the exhibit in an online talk at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 11.
“Postcards to Brattleboro: 40 Years of Mail Art” features postcards, cut-outs, drawings and poems sent and received over nearly 50 years by Stuart Copans, known in the mail art world as “Shmuel.” Tucked into BMAC’s Spotlight Gallery, “Wesley Fleming: Silvestris, Wild and Untamed” features Fleming’s exquisitely detailed glass creations, including wild columbine, jack-in-the-pulpit, and other woodland signs of spring.
There is art to be viewed outside the museum as well, including “John Gibson: Jazz,” a new yearlong installation in the five large window bays extending across the front of BMAC’s Union Station. Also on view outdoors are Bob Boemig’s enchanting “Land Lift,” Dan Snow’s “Rock Rest,” Jim Cole’s “Duet for Dan” and Johnny Swing’s “Idle Knot.”
Unlike many museums around the world, BMAC has not laid off, furloughed or reduced hours of any of its staff. “We are extremely fortunate that we didn’t have to make those cuts,” said Lichtenfeld. “We were able to draw upon reserve funds, our donors have stepped up with great generosity, and several foundations have kindly allowed us to repurpose project grants for general operations. We were also successful in obtaining relief funds made available through the CARES Act.”
For more information, go online to www.brattleboromuseum.org or call 802-257-0124.