By RAPHAEL LASSAUZE
Individuals, couples, family and roommates now find themselves trapped in the same space – the space that becomes their entire physical world.
Boredom and stress can create tension in any household, and during a corona virus type pandemic, those emotions may have little way out. Art, however, is always a way out for emotions.
The galleries and museums of the Bronx and beyond reach to bring relief to as many homes as possible. One of them is the Hudson River Museum, as well as the Lehman Art Gallery, which – with the power of technology – brings art into the hands of many people who live at home.
Masha Turchinsky, director of the Hudson River Museum, said she had done her best to bring the Yonkers museum to all.
“We are in the digital age in spite of this pandemic,” Turchinsky said.
“A museum visitor is no longer someone who has just passed through the door. They are friends with us on Instagram. They talked with us about their work and experience with the museum. We are steadfast in our mission to bring art, science and nature to society regardless of what is happening. “
Although some agencies may struggle with the sudden adjustments needed to help physical visitors become digital audiences, Turchinsky has something better – he was a senior media producer of the Metropolitan Art Museum for 15 years, and was the creative director of Met’s first award-winning mobile app.
“Luckily I have experience in creating media and digital content,” Turchinsky said.
“Our website was launched in 2018, which helps make connections with our community. But now because they can’t visit, we are doing everything we can to provide new content in this trial period. “
Among the content included museum participation in the development of a new application called Second Canvas. Along with world famous museums such as The Prado of Madrid and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Hudson River Museum has digitalized several works of art so that anyone can learn the expertise, art, and story of each section.
But Turchinsky is not the only one who leads the museum’s new platform. Viridiana Garcia Choy, youth and family program manager, has started a bilingual story video series, which premiered on the museum’s website.
“The important thing now is to unite people,” Garcia Choy said.
“I read stories in both languages, and I have read stories that focus a lot on child psychology and adolescent psychology, especially for what is happening right now. They may not really understand it, and they must be contacted and helped now more than ever. “
Bringing youth and family together through art and artistic involvement has also become a target for Bridget McCormick, one of the museum’s main educators.
“We focus on the exhibition Derrick Adams, called ‘Buoyant,'” McCormick said. “We make lesson plans related to Adams main themes – such as the power of radical excitement in difficult times, using these main colors and bright smiles. We have brought this to people digitally because we want the community to be closer together with these pieces.
While the Hudson River Museum has developed community relations and is helping people of all ages to focus on art, Lehman College Art Gallery has been at the forefront in helping people take that cultivation and express it through new online classes.
Deborah Yasinsky, education curator at the campus gallery, has created and hosted videos and classes for all ages to think of two things: art and community.
“It began with the aim of increasing morale in the community with art,” Yasinsky said. “We have done many things to invite the community to our current exhibition, called ‘Young, Gifted and Black,’ and our public works. People can’t see them directly now, but we want to bring something interactive to them. “
Inviting local artists, students, and alumni to send pictures of famous Olmec heads on campus, who decorate the campus yard, or start a series of new classes and step-by-step tutorials, has become a new day-to-day. Yasinsky’s mission and his fellow curators.
“We have several art-making workshops,” Yasinsky said. “We have 15 family units there, we have several artists. That is a good result, though some don’t know how to use Zoom. We plan to continue more such public programs. People must focus on something creative now. “
Both the Hudson River Museum and Lehman College Art Gallery have used social media now more than ever to interact with communities that live at home, a community that feels isolated and alone.
“On Instagram, we have shared pictures of our exhibit along with descriptions to give those who cannot visit something to see and be involved,” Yasinsky said. “People have sent photos of their Olmec chiefs, and we have reposted some of them by name them. It’s another way we want to connect with them, dialogue with everyone now. “
The loneliness and feelings of isolation that many people may experience today can, according to Yasinsky, be reduced somewhat by participating with others in the community in something active and available.
“I hosted the first online art workshop,” Yasinsky said. “And in the end, we went around and everyone raised their drawings or paintings, and they got the chance to talk about their work with each other. It’s important for us to meet and talk with each other, now more than ever. “