COVID's impact on local art museums

How they're adapting and how you can help
Posted at 6:44 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 19:44:30-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Art is something that enriches the lives of everyone and it's an industry that's hurting right during the pandemic.

"Art just sort of touches your soul and inspires your mind and I think that's what people are looking for," said Amy Rummel of the Joslyn Art Museum.

Everybody could use a little color in what's been a dark year. Arts organizations around Omaha are working to operate as safely as possible during the pandemic. Some have re-opened while others remain closed. Overall, the arts are struggling.

The Joslyn opened some areas of its building in August. A new exhibit there features works by Currier and Ives and highlights 19th-century America. Rummel said visitors are able to make their way through the building touch-free. Hand sanitizer can be found around the exhibits and masks are required.

"It’s our responsibility as an organization that welcomes the public to make sure we do everything we can to keep people safe," she said.

Some ways people can help the museum include becoming a member and donations. No amount is too small.

Maggie Smith is the director of operations at Kaneko. She says despite being temporarily closed, the nonprofit is working to bring people together through their exhibition, “Community.”

"We didn’t want to just sit and wait for the galleries to open back up,” she said. “We wanted to live by our mission, we want to reach people in a creative way."

Kaneko currently features works by local artists Wattie White, Pamela Conyers-Hinston and Thurman Statom and is the process of installing new pieces by Juan Sanchez and a special project called “Tessellation.”

“Tessellation” will showcase work sent in digitally from people all over the world and will represent isolation. Kaneko received over 1,000 submissions.

Smith says the best way to keep supporting Kaneko is by engaging with their social media and visiting their website at They also have a membership program that helps fund the gallery.

"Although we aren't able to bring our members in do to really cool things right now, their support is everything to us and it's really something that's helped us keep the doors open," Smith said.

Kaneko hopes to reopen soon and admission is always free.

The Currier and Ives exhibit at the Joslyn Art Museum is $10 for adults and $5 for students. The Joslyn's other exhibits are free to attend.

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