Bridge Ahead Initiative assists museums adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
Rochester, N.Y., August 6, 2020—The George Eastman Museum has received two grant awards, of $35,000 each, from Art Bridges. The grant awards are funded through the Bridge Ahead Initiative—a nearly $6 million commitment from Art Bridges to assist its partner museums that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The George Eastman Museum is very grateful to Art Bridges for its quick and generous response to the adverse impact that the pandemic is having on museums around the country,” said Bruce Barnes, PhD, Ron and Donna Fielding Director, George Eastman Museum. “The grant funding we’ve received through the Bridge Ahead Initiative has undoubtedly helped us reach our goals of successfully engaging our community remotely and reopening our museum to the public.”
Generous support provided by Art Bridges is assisting the museum as it continues to develop online engagement opportunities and programs to connect with its community remotely as part of its Eastman Museum at Home program. This includes creating virtual 3D tours of the George Eastman’s historic mansion and exhibitions in the museum’s galleries, as well as curator-led video tours of the mansion. Grant funds are being used to purchase an upgraded camera system, a 3D camera, and a digital scanner, and to support the costs of a digital campaign to promote Eastman Museum at Home activities and offerings. The museum has reopened to the public, but its worldwide access to virtual tours, live and recorded presentations, and digitized films will be an ongoing initiative.
Support provided by Art Bridges has also assisted in safely reopening of the museum to the public. Grant funds were designated to support the purchase and installation of new technology and staff training to facilitate contactless museum admission, Dryden Theatre admission, and other point-of-sale procedures at the museum. Visitors to the George Eastman Museum are—and attendees at the Dryden Theatre will be—assured that appropriate health precautions are in place to allow them to safely engage with art and enjoy a cultural experience. The grant will also support advertising and other marketing efforts to encourage people to visit the museum and Dryden Theatre with these new systems in place.
“Our partners—museums of all sizes across the country, including the George Eastman Museum—are doing important work by increasing access to American art,” said Paul Provost, PhD, CEO of Art Bridges. “We hope that the Bridge Ahead Initiative bolsters them during this crisis, supporting their efforts to reach their audiences while they are closed and helping them safely and successfully reopen.”
About Art Bridges
Art Bridges is the vision of philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton. Since 2018 Art Bridges has been creating and supporting programs that expand access to American art in all regions across the nation. The foundation strives to bring great works of American art out of storage and into communities. Art Bridges partners with a growing network of nearly 130 museums of all sizes and locations, providing financial and strategic support for exhibition development, collection loans and programs designed to engage new audiences. Art Bridges funds projects that inspire deeper relationships between arts organizations and their communities, develop expanded relationships built on inclusivity and respect, and encourage meaningful personal connections that lead to stronger, more vibrant cities and towns. For more information, visit artsbridgesfoundation.org.
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