KATONAH, N.Y.  - After temporarily closing its doors on March 13 to protect the health and safety of visitors, staff and volunteers, the Katonah Museum of Art will officially reopen to the public on Sunday, July 26.

Following New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order, ‘New York on PAUSE’ and subsequent guidelines, the Museum will operate at 25 percent of its total capacity while enacting new safety measures, including advance online ticket purchases, social distancing throughout galleries and outdoor areas, and enhanced sanitizing and cleaning protocols. 

To help ensure public safety and to prevent crowds, timed ticket purchases will be required. All visitors must pre-purchase museum admission tickets online in advance. Details regarding the reopening and the purchase of online tickets will be made available on the museum’s website. 

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“The pandemic has had a devastating impact in our community, and while we are grateful to reopen, our priority continues to be the health and safety of our visitors, staff and our community,” said Michael Gitlitz, KMA Executive Director. “Over the past weeks, we have carefully developed reopening protocols with the guidance of health and government sources at the local, state and federal levels and have taken into consideration their respective parameters for reopening. Our Facilities staff have also worked hard to gather necessary safety supplies, including masks, gloves, plexiglass guards, touchless sanitizing stations and directional signage.

"These new procedures will ensure we are meeting the highest public health standards while maintaining the excellence of the KMA’s visitor experience. We are looking forward to reopening, and it will be particularly meaningful to welcome the public to experience the works of artist Bisa Butler in a physical setting.” 

Throughout the initial phase of reopening, the galleries, exhibits and experiences will be available with controlled attendance to allow for social distance between visitors, especially within galleries. At each visit, guests will arrive through one entrance, follow a guided path, and leave through a designated exit to prevent visitors from crossing paths.

Cleaning will be enhanced throughout the Museum, including increased frequency of disinfecting high-traffic surfaces. Hand sanitizer stations will also be available across the Museum’s campus. In accordance with guidelines, the Museum’s staff and volunteers, as well as all visitors, will be required to wear face coverings during the initial reopening phase; complimentary masks will not be provided. As recommended by state and city officials, seniors and people with serious medical conditions will be able to reserve time slots specifically designated to accommodate their needs. 

“Bisa Butler: Portraits” is the first solo museum exhibition of the artist’s work and features her vivid and larger-than-life quilts that capture African American identity and culture. Originally intended to open on March 15, the Museum was forced to make the decision to close on the day before the opening. However, the museum was able to extend the exhibition from July 26 to October 4, allowing the many visitors from all over who have expressed interest in the exhibition. After the show is on view at the KMA it will then travel to The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC). 

As described by the artist herself: 

“This project is a quilted fabric album of everyday people of African descent inspired by vintage photographs. My goal is to not only provide a simple snapshot of a person but also to communicate an entire story in one piece of artwork. I create portraits of people that include many clues of their inner thoughts, their heritage, their actual emotions, and even their future.” 
Butler, a formally trained African American artist of Ghanaian heritage, straddles the line between creating with paint on canvas and creating with fiber by fashioning magnificent quilts and elevating a medium hitherto designated as craft into one that is high art. Butler forges an individual and expressive signature style that draws upon her own cultural background and experiences, creating a narrative and identity that inform her quilts. She creates a story around each image, and, in her choice of fabrics, she uses texture, color and the cultural origin of the cloth as part of a personal iconography that makes statements about society and identity. What results are stunning works that transform family memories and cultural practices into works of social statement. 

Guests can find a full list of available Museum experiences and learn more about what to expect during a visit on the Museum’s website, katonahmuseum.org.