A Letter from Susan Taylor, Montine Freeman Director of the New Orleans Museum of Art

Dear  NOMA Friends and Family,

Nine weeks have passed since NOMA, along with cultural institutions worldwide, closed its doors temporarily with the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. In that time,  we have worked creatively and collaboratively to continue our mission of offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation of art. Our digital outreach has truly been revolutionized during this shutdown, and we look forward to continuing to build upon this important initiative. At the same time, we have recognized the importance of providing analog materials for our audiences and that too has informed the content we are committed to providing in the future.

But, we have missed our members and community. I am pleased to report that NOMA has been included in Phase 1 of reopening New Orleans. In accordance with guidelines and directives from Governor John Bel Edwards, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and the Center for Disease Control, NOMA plans to open the gates of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden to visitors on June 1. While many of us have sought solace in the beauty of nature during this strange spring, we look forward to inviting you back to enjoy the combination of a  lush landscape and world-renowned works of art. (Click here for new safety guidelines and additional information.)

These are challenging times for the financial stability of museums, and because of the significant revenue loss NOMA has suffered due to the COVID-19 crisis, we are asking our visitors to pay a small admission  fee to the sculpture garden at this time. This is an important change, as your contribution will be critical  to NOMA’s continued success.

NOMA will follow a phased approach to reopening the museum. New rules will be set in place to ensure the safety of all, while still enjoying NOMA’s collection and exploring the museum galleries. More details on the museum opening are forthcoming. As required by the Phase 1 protocol, we will operate at 25% capacity in the museum building.

There are always lessons learned during times like these. We have discovered our capacity to pursue excellence in differing ways while maintaining our commitment to exploring the power of art to unify, heal, and provide comfort. All of us have experienced the power of collaboration and the creativity unleashed by engaging one another in the process of presenting new ways to support our audiences. Finally, we have all experienced the camaraderie and support of our colleagues here in New Orleans and throughout the United States as we all grapple with whatever the next chapter will be. Desmond Tutu once said, “One day we will wake up and discover we are family.”

In the weeks ahead, as we continue to navigate this new normal together, I know we will all be able to find hope and inspiration through art. Together.

All best,
Susan M. Taylor
Montine McDaniel Freeman Director

Image credits (left to right):

Carlos Rolón (Puerto Rican/American, b. 1970), Losa Criolla (detail), 2018, Ceramic tile on aluminum panel, Museum purchase, Roussel Norman Fund, 2018.9

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755–1842), Portrait of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France (detail), c. 1788, Oil on canvas, Museum purchase, Women’s Volunteer Committee and Carrie Heiderich Fund, 85.90

Quinnie Pettway (American, 1943–2010), “Bricklayer” variation quilt (detail), Corduroy, 1975, 82 x 72 in., Museum purchase and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection, 2017.170, © Estate of Quinnie Pettaway/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Image: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio/Art Resource, New York