Reinventing our Relationship with Culture: Gallery Hopping in the COVID-19 Era

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by Margaret Carpenter

Just a few months ago, the world was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities across the globe have experienced struggles and restrictions on their freedom of movement more than ever seen in modern times. Despite these challenges, people have come together, resiliently, to do their part. We continue to celebrate the heroes working on the frontlines, from doctors to grocery store workers, and everyone in-between. We celebrate essential workers in every field, as well as the everyday citizens who do their part by socially distancing, wearing masks, and doing what they can to keep others safe.

Countless conversations have been had on what activities are safe and essential to communities right now. As cities around the world are slowly and cautiously reopening, the health and safety of visitors and locals at the center of importance to all businesses. One particular group of institutions has been highlighted recently as being both essential and safe to engage with, and those are cultural institutions. A group of physicians from the Committee on Infectious Diseases’ COVID-19 Task Force recently released a ranking of activities based on their associated risks with the spread of COVID. Visiting a museum, art gallery or library was listed as a low-risk activity, along the lines of going on a walk with a friend.

Statue mouth covered with a face mask

So, while our lives are still restricted and we spend an increasing amount of time at home, now is a great time to focus on enriching our everyday life with art. Whether you are looking to learn, find a creative escape, or add new pieces of art to your collection, consider venturing out for a low-risk, highly rewarding gallery hop!

Here, we have laid out a few tips to keep you safe while enjoying a day of gallery hopping around whatever city you find yourself in during COVID.  These guidelines are in line with recommendations from the public and health officials.

  1. Mind your distance: Luckily, galleries are made for this! They provide open, airy spaces for you to walk around and absorb the art that lines their walls. Gallery visitors have always been respectful of others’ personal space, it is sort of unwritten etiquette within the art world. So, as you would normally, be sure to respect everyone’s boundaries while enjoying your visit. If someone is enjoying a particular piece of art, just be sure to enjoy that piece with a healthy six-foot distance from the other visitor.
Agora artist Anna Zubets-Anderson posing next to her artworks on view
Agora artist Anna Zubets-Anderson posing next to her artworks on view
  • Wear a mask: As advised by public health officials, this is the best way to keep everyone safe. Please wear a mask during your gallery visits, as they are still enclosed spaces. This not only keeps you safe but also keeps others safe. If you have a health condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, be sure to contact the galleries you will be visiting to see how they can accommodate your needs! On that note, see the next point…
  • Weary of other visitors? Have a health condition? Book an appointment! Galleries would be happy to host you for a private viewing.
  • Monitor your health. That could mean taking your temperature regularly, washing your hands, and self-isolating or getting appropriate testing if you have been exposed to someone with the virus.
  • Finally, work within your comfort zone and enjoy yourself. Galleries want every experience to be positive and enriching for you. If you are still uncomfortable venturing out, you can always engage with your favorite galleries digitally. Additionally, do not hesitate to contact a gallery and discuss how you can work together to make your visit safe and rewarding.
  • Looking to develop your artistic career and build a presence in New York City and worldwide? Book an online career development consultation meeting today.

    Galleries and museums appreciate your support during this time. Artists appreciate your support during this time. The value of cultural institutions in the world is immeasurable and the continued support from the communities they inhabit is truly invaluable.

    Margaret Carpenter has an MFA in Fine and Decorative Art. She lives in New York and works as a freelance copywriter and an Art Gallery Intern.


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