COVID-19 restrictions provide a new, accessible way to experience art museums


Photo credit to Underline Studio on Wikimedia Commons

Art museums take a hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but are offering new ways to enjoy art from afar.

Kristie Castillo, Staff Writer

COVID-19 has changed the way we experience and interact with the art world, shifting us from in-person museum visits to virtual tours, gallery experiences and other forms of media. 

Prior to the pandemic, the art world seemed inaccessible and difficult to engage with without a base understanding of the types of art and it was also monetarily inaccessible for many.

However, with COVID-19 restrictions, many museums such as the San Diego Museum of Art and the Getty in Los Angeles have begun to offer the public an inside look into their spaces and minds from the comfort of their own homes. 

These museums demonstrate the strength and determination of the art world to remain accessible and educational for the public, even in the midst of a pandemic. 

The San Diego Museum of Art, for example, has issued a “Masterpiece Minute” podcast, which is a series of sixty-second episodes that each share the history and context of a featured art piece. It is available in both audio and written format, to accommodate the needs and preferences of virtual “visitors”.

This new form of engagement allows the public to continue learning and exposing themselves to the world’s art while remaining at home and within safety guidelines. 

The Oceanside Museum of Art has begun hosting virtual art workshops, where members of the public can learn how to create and document their own projects. 

Similarly to the San Diego Museum of Art, the Oceanside Museum of Art hosts a number of artist talks where creators can share their experience and inspiration behind pieces, educating and engaging the public in the creation of their art. 

Many of these museums cannot wait to open their doors back to the public, providing some insight into their proposed alterations to business to remain safe while visiting in-person. 

Per The Getty’s website, a few of these changes for when the museum reopens include timed-entry tickets, temperature checks and limitations on the number of individuals allowed in one space at a time. 

As other businesses have also done, these museums would also require social distancing and mask-wearing and they will also provide hand sanitizer stations for visitors to use throughout their visit.

Unfortunately, just as many other businesses have, art museums have taken a financial hit from the reduction in traffic in their locations, but many of these organizations have come together to raise funds to support art during the pandemic. 

The LA Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund, for example, is a donations-based fund that has worked to raise money for small-to-midsize art organizations that contribute to diversity in the art world and are facing financial difficulty during this time. 

Whether through the creation of relief funds or sixty-second podcasts that introduce pieces of history to the public, the art world seems to continue to persevere and educate their communities despite the difficulties of COVID-19.