Akron Art Museum brings you AAM at Home
Every day, we seek to make creative connections. “Live Creative” is our motto and we aim to extend that into the community. With our staff working from home, we strive for that even more by connecting to people in their own homes. Since the Akron Art Museum decided to close its doors in March, we have explored several ways to bring the museum into people’s homes which we are calling AAM at Home. Through this, we will continue to support our community by sharing our resources, offering respite and reflection, sparking creativity and joy, and listening to our visitors.
Play is an important part of the AAM experience, and we’ve taken those experiences global. This includes the weekly initiative #MuseumGames, puzzles containing crossword clues from institutions around the world. Participants have included the New-York Historical Society, the Adler Planetarium and The Getty.
Our patrons can still engage with the collections without walking through our doors. We’ve also launched virtual tours on our blog and social media, giving people the chance to see shows that will have to be taken off our walls due to the closure. The Elias Sime: Tightrope exhibition is a must-see. These are not paintings, but breathtaking compositions assembled from thousands of motherboards, buttons, computer keyboard keys and electrical wires. We’re also diving into our collections, offering viewers an indepth look from our curatorial teams’ perspectives.
Coming in May, AAM is partnering with the University of Akron, Kent State University, Cleveland Institute of Art and Oberlin College for virtual student exhibits entitled Final Studies: Virtual University Student Shows. Our social platforms will serve as a venue for grad students and seniors who can’t have an audience for their shows.
In the near future, AAM at Home will grow to include a special podcast series called Relief, brought to you by our team and meant to offer art and creativity as an antidote to a stressful life. We also look forward to hearing the community’s stories of how the pandemic has impacted their creativity and lives.
We can’t forget about our members during this time either. Perks will include downloadable creativity care kits, AAM After Work project sessions via a teleconferencing or social media and virtual escape rooms. We’ll also bring back the popular Coffee with the Curator where members can teleconference with Gina, our curator of education, and talk about art.
The museum previously announced canceling programs through April 30, but with the closure extending until further notice, many more programs are being impacted. Late spring and early summer bring many patrons to the Akron Art Museum. The prolonged closure required the cancellation of 81 programs, including 45 school tours. Overall, more than 2,000 children were impacted, along with countless families and other patrons.
This closure cost the museum 22% of our anticipated operating budget. Nearly 63% of the fixed cost of the organization is staffing, which has led to more changes and will impact 100% of the staff. The action affected all departments. Status changes were based on the immediate needs of maintaining the museum’s essential operations and maintaining a continued connection to patrons during a prolonged closure. All full-time employees will be impacted: 11% will be furloughed, 32% changed to part-time status with work responsibilities decreasing accordingly, and 36% will be retained at full time with a 5% pay cut and work responsibilities decreased accordingly. All part-time employees will be furloughed.
Not to JoAnn: I left this as is. The only thing that we would need to have happen are the italicizing I did of Elias Sime: Tightrope and The Kids are Alright, which appears twice.
Programs affected by the museum’s closure include:
Ongoing: All public, school, and private group tours are canceled
Ongoing: Research requests from The Martha Stecher Reed Library canceled
March 14: Be Inspired by Art, Yoga and Meditation and Explore: Elias Sime: Tightrope tour canceled
March 19: Art Babes postponed
March 21: Family Film Fest canceled
March 26: Your Say, Akron: Community Conversations postponed
March 28: Art & Ale postponed
March 29: Artist Talk: Elias Sime canceled
April 2: Creative Playdate postponed
April 4: Tots Create and Kids Studio postponed
April 9: Night at the Museum and After-School Mind Unwind postponed
April 14: Explore: The Kids Are Alright tour canceled
April 15: Meet Me at the Museum postponed
April 18: Explore: The Kids Are Alright tour canceled
April 18: AAM After Work canceled
April 30: Teach Talk postponed
June 13: Annual Auction postponed
Our staff may not be in the museum, but we are still working hard to bring enrichment to the community, just in a different way. Follow us on social media to keep up on our latest efforts.
AKRON ART MUSEUM
One South High Street
Akron, Ohio 44308