While our collective burdens grow heavier nearly by the day, there was one bright spot this past week. I was invited to attend the Press Preview before The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s reopening on August 29, 2020, in its celebratory one hundred-and-fiftieth year. One of my favorite museums in the city because of its generous suggested donation policy, regular visits are a real thing. After an almost six month closure during a time of unprecedented isolation and peril, the museum’s opening felt all the more significant.
With a mask on face and the six-foot distance on mind, in through those iconic doors I went. The safety protocols are thorough in concept and implementation as was evidenced by the number of visitors who are in the high-risk population. Everyone seemed mindful of space and air, happy to make these small adjustments for the shared benefit. The works of art were there, just like before, to greet me like old and faithful friends, and I met some new ones as well. I felt giddy conversing with the docents and expressing my gratitude in the simple joy of being there.
I am mindful, also, that museum-going may sound like a luxury. But I would argue that when everything feels to be crumbling around us, finding inspiration is a necessity, too. Experiencing how our fellow human beings have navigated the contours of their own hardships and struggles, gives us courage to rise up through our own. Welcome back, dear friend. And stay safe.
Kent Monkman’s recent Great Hall Commission pieces, Welcoming the Newcomers and Resurgence of the People felt relevant in a myriad of ways. A return visit to fully experience their glory is on my list.
Photography Beth Horta for Sweet Sabelle.