May 9, 2020
Dear Members, friends, and supporters:
I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy. I know that during these months of staying at home many of you have been participating in our virtual programs for all ages. I want to thank the incredible professional staff of the Asheville Art Museum for their quick response to developing, fine-tuning, and implementing these virtual opportunities to engage with American art, artists, our partners, and our Collection. And thank you for sharing your delight in these offerings with us! Hearing from you really matters to us. Providing inspiration, enlightenment, engagement, and building community through the arts is our mission, a mission that has never been more important than now.
We know that the new Museum holds an important place in your lives and hearts, that it anchors downtown, and that you are awaiting the time you can return. While we have been closed to the public since March 16, we have been diligently working on plans to reopen and safely welcome you back to experience the Museum firsthand.
We have been closely following Governor Cooper’s plans for reopening the state and those of Buncombe County, as well as recommendations from the CDC and the art museum field across America. At this time, and with an abundance of caution for everyone’s safety, we have determined that we will remain closed at least through Governor Cooper’s Phase One. If all trends as everyone hopes, we are currently planning to reopen in early to mid-June.
Towards that goal, the Museum has developed a robust reopening plan that includes many items that have been completed and others that will be completed prior to opening, including but not limited to:
- Cleaning and sanitizing the entire building. This has been completed multiple times already and will be continually repeated through new custodial guidelines that increase frequency of cleaning of all areas. We are lucky the facility is brand new with hard, cleanable surfaces.
- Stocking necessary supplies and materials including personal protective equipment, hand-sanitizer stations, soap, cleansers, gloves, face-coverings, and of course toilet paper.
- Creating barriers, and utilizing stanchions and other directional and distancing equipment.
- Developing new signage, guidelines, and protocols for staff and the public including hand-washing, use of cloth face-coverings, covering coughs and sneezes, social distancing, and staying home when not feeling well.
- Ensuring the availability of touchless payment options and exploring a timed reservation system.
- Reducing/limiting overall building and gallery capacities to allow for recommended social distancing.
- Monitoring our brand-new ventilation system to ensure the circulation of fresh air throughout the facility.
- Restricting or closing some areas of the Museum when we first reopen, and re-configuring some public programs until we better understand the new realities of operating safely.
- Developing new self-guided maps and interpretive materials in multiple formats…
On an exciting note, we have extended, through the summer season, the amazing special exhibitions we opened in late February and March that few of you had the opportunity to see, enjoy, and be inspired by. These include A Telling Instinct: John James Audubon and Contemporary Art, Dancing Atoms: Barbara Morgan Photographs, Reverberations: Exploring Movement in the Collection, Andy Warhol: Silver Clouds, and Ernest Trova: Selections from the F.M. Manscapes Portfolio. Additionally, you will have the chance to visit Many Become One, Intersections in American Art, and many other exciting selections from the Collection.
Museums are sites for contemplation and healing in difficult times. We know that you want to come back to your Museum as soon as possible. We know it is a place of solace, inspiration, and enjoyment, and we absolutely can’t wait to welcome you back. We will keep you apprised of our plans as they continue to develop.
With much gratitude for your continued support,
Pamela L. Myers