While many museums have projected large deficits and made staff cuts and furloughs in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the Baltimore Museum of Art is using its fortunate position of financial health to redirect resources to local artists, galleries and communities.
Three new initiatives—BMA Salon, BMA Screening Room and BMA Studio—are being funded by more than $100,000 diverted from the cancelled spring season of the museum’s Necessity of Tomorrow(s) speaker series, dedicated to issues of accessibility, social justice and equity. “I wanted to find a way to return to those causes as quickly as possible in the grip of this pandemic,” says Christopher Bedford, the museum’s director, “and to be responsive to the immediate needs that we identified.”
Senior staff came up with BMA Salon to help Baltimore-based galleries and artist-run spaces that have been hit hard by a devastated economy. The museum’s contemporary art curators are inviting 20 venues—including As They Lay, C. Grimaldis Gallery, Galerie Myrtis, Goya Contemporary, Resort, St. Charles Projects, sindikit, and Springsteen—to each present a week-long exhibition on the Necessity of Tomorrow(s) website (bmatomorrows.org) that reaches an email list of more than 24,000 subscribers. Galleries will receive a stipend of $2,500 and keep all proceeds from any sales.