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BMAC plans to reopen on June 18

Eight previously shuttered exhibits to remain on view through Oct. 12

BRATTLEBORO—Having been closed since March 15, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) will reopen to the public on Thursday, June 18.

The museum will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In recognition of the financial uncertainty faced by many, admission will be on a “pay-as-you-wish” basis.

Visitors to the museum will be required to wear face coverings and abide by physical distancing requirements. Although BMAC is currently permitted to admit as many as 75 visitors at a time, attendance will be limited to 40.

Visitors may walk in unannounced, as always, or they may make reservations and pay admission in advance at brattleboromuseum.org.

“In this time of great uncertainty and anguish, both personal and societal, we hope our exhibits will offer visitors a measure of hope, inspiration, and relief,” said BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld in a news release.

Unlike many museums around the world, BMAC has not laid off, furloughed, or reduced hours of any of its staff.

“We are extremely fortunate that we didn’t have to make those cuts,” said Lichtenfeld. “We were able to draw upon reserve funds, our donors have stepped up with great generosity, and several foundations have kindly allowed us to repurpose project grants for general operations. We were also successful in obtaining relief funds made available through the CARES Act.”

Although BMAC’s galleries are reopening, all in-person events are on hold for the time being. The museum is offering some events via livestream and has also boosted its online content, including the biweekly art prompt series BMACreate!

The museum will resume in-person events and programs when regulations and conditions allow.

Eight new exhibits extended through October

Eight new exhibits opened on March 14. Several of them had been in development for years beforehand, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, they were shuttered the next day and have gone unseen in the three months since. Those exhibits were originally scheduled to come down in June, but they have been extended through Oct. 12.

The new exhibits include two focused on homelessness, developed by BMAC in partnership with Groundworks Collaborative and supported by a grant from the Thomas Thompson Trust.

Taking its title from the number of people who were unsheltered in America in 2018, “Steven Kinder: 552,830”features larger-than-life painted portraits of people whom Kinder has met over the years in New York City, where they were experiencing homelessness.

The portraits are suspended from the ceiling throughout BMAC’s Wolf Kahn & Emily Mason Gallery.

Complementing Kinder’s work is Brattleboro artist Liz LaVorgna’s multimedia project “Coffee & Conversation: Stories of Homelessness,” an updated version of her 2015 collaboration with filmmaker Wyatt Andrews.

“Alison Wright: Grit and Grace, Women at Work” consists of 28 large photographic portraits showcasing the strength and perseverance of women around the world working to survive and to transform their communities.

Wright is a documentary photographer, a National Geographic Traveler of the Year, and a recipient of the Dorothea Lange Award in Documentary Photography. BMAC will host an online talk with Wright, sponsored by the Vermont Women’s Fund, on Thursday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m.

“Roger Clark Miller: Transmuting the Prosaic” is an installation featuring video, sound, and modified vinyl records. Miller is a co-founder of the art-punk band Mission of Burma and a member of Alloy Orchestra, a three-person ensemble that Roger Ebert once called “the best in the world at accompanying silent films.” The installation at BMAC marks the first time Miller has exhibited his visual art.

Another site-specific installation, “Steven Rose: For/While (2020.01),” lets viewers experience the artist’s interpretation of a phenomenon he encountered during a 5.8-magnitude earthquake, which he describes as a “sublime folding of chaos into order.”

Rose will discuss the exhibit in an online talk on Thursday, June 11, at 7:30 p.m.

“Postcards to Brattleboro: 40 Years of Mail Art” features postcards, cut-outs, drawings, and poems sent and received over nearly 50 years by Stuart Copans, known in the mail art world as “Shmuel.” The exhibit includes mail art from Copans to fellow mail artist and exhibit curator Chuck Welch (“CrackerJack Kid”), among many others.

Tucked into BMAC’s Spotlight Gallery, “Wesley Fleming: Silvestris, Wild and Untamed” features the artist’s exquisitely detailed glass creations, including wild columbine, jack in the pulpit, and other woodland signs of spring.

There is art to be viewed outside the museum as well, including “John Gibson: Jazz,” a new year-long installation in the five large window bays extending across the front of BMAC’s Union Station. Also on view outdoors are Bob Boemig’s enchanting “Land Lift,” Dan Snow’s “Rock Rest,” Jim Cole’s “Duet for Dan,” and Johnny Swing’s “Idle Knot.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #565 (Wednesday, June 10, 2020). This story appeared on page A5.

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