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Asheville Art Museum Invites You In, Virtually

By Dasha Morgan

Now you can visit your favorite museum online.

Asheville – The major museums here in the United States and other countries have had to close their doors due to the coronavirus. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery in London, all are temporarily closed for visitors to slow the spread of Covid 19.

White ranunculus flowers on a black background was a photograph taken for an online photography class. Lindsey Solomon was focusing on designing principles, and and an example specifically of “shape.”
White ranunculus flowers on a black background was a photograph taken for an online photography class. Lindsey Solomon was focusing on designing principles, and and an example specifically of “shape.”

The directors and curators have had to put on their creative hats in order to find ways to draw visitors back into the museum, so they can enjoy and learn about the art collections that are housed within the museum. With modern technology, these directors have risen to this unforeseen occasion and have been able to open their doors for all to see the many collections. Knowlegeable curators tour you virtually through rooms of collections, as they describe and talk about paintings of interest. The rooms come alive as a docent points out details of interest in the works of art.

Yes, certainly, this is a new way to visit a museum. But due to governmental restrictions, it makes it possible to visit the museum of your choice and continue enjoying the fine art. For instance, who wouldn’t like to see a video of Monet’s stunning Water Lily Garden or learn more about Chagall’s fanciful creations while relaxing at home? It is easy enough. Just go to the National Gallery in Washington’s website (nga.gov) for a virtual tour.

As many know the Asheville Art Museum only just reopened their doors this past November after months of major renovations. Now the executive director Pamela Myers with the help of her staff has found ways to continue to interact with the public despite the Governor’s stay-at-home ordinance. With modern technology, she with her staff have found a way for you to explore their collections and exhibitions virtually. They are offering panoramic tours of the galleries and online learning opportunities with lectures by artists and curators. They are also offering a number of fun and exciting art-related activities. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about their American art collection of the 20th and 21st centuries. These programs take place via Zoom.

Last week a four-part digital photography course began by M. Paige Taylor—virtually but unfortunately there are no more spots available. This class is part of adult studio courses that the museum is offering. It was designed with beginners, hobbyists, and those with some photography experience in mind.

The museum is offering suggestions and directions for art activities that can take place at home–for young and old. Pastel street art on sidewalks is abounding during this pandemic crisis. Undoubtedly you have seen colorful signs on windows. Children of all ages are blocking off sections of the sidewalk to paint their favorite animal characters with colorful chalk.

The Art Museum online gives clear directions to encourage a better understanding of visual concepts, like texture, color, and shape. They give instructions for making homemade clay. Perhaps you or your child might find coloring something relaxing and fun? The museum is also providing pages and note cards that can be downloaded, printed and then colored. Just look at the website for creative new activities each week. It is a great way to encourage creativity. Just go to their www.ashevilleart.org. website for their latest information.

As an avenue to connect with the public, staff and docents from the Asheville Art Museum are choosing artworks from the collection to discuss and provide inspiration. For instance, this Friday, May 8, Hank Bovee, a touring docent, will have an interactive conversation about 3 arts works in the Asheville Art Museum’s collection. The program will focus on a work by Jo Sandman, whose oil and enamel on canvas is part of the Museum’s Black Mountain College collection, a Helen Frankenthaler acrylic on canvas, and an Annie Leibovitz photo. Each Friday at noon a virtual interaction with the museum’s art pieces and a docent will take place. These are being called Slow Art Friday. The goal of this type of in-depth conversation is simple: slow down, discover the joy of looking at art and talk about the experience with others. Space is limited; to register up to one week in advance, email Kristi McMillan or call 828.253.3227 x122.

Later this month on Tuesday, May 12, another intriguing discussion on Modern Art will take place-virtually. Here Susie Hodge, author of “How to Survive Modern Art,” explains why the best examples of modern art are actually the result of sophisticated thought and serious talent. She explains “Why Your Five-Year-Old could not have done that!” This will be moderated by Judy Upjohn.

However, don’t overlook checking out websites from other museums. There is a wealth of information being discussed online and collections being toured and shown virtually. These museums like the Asheville Art Museum have opened their doors with modern technology, and they want you to visit them to get rid of any cabin fever. They want to help you have a better understanding of the pieces in their collection, as well as inspire your creativity. This is the time to visit your favorite museum online.

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