It goes without saying: we are living through extraordinary and unexpected times that no one could have imagined. More than anything, I hope this digital issue of PhxArt Magazine finds you and your loved ones safe, healthy, and cared for as we navigate the immense challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am joined by all of our Trustees in a message of welcome and return. On October 1, Phoenix Art Museum will re-open to Museum Members, and soon after, to our entire community. The extended closure has left each of us with a loss, but I am relieved to welcome you back, with a number of new safety measures in place that are designed to help reduce the risk of exposure while you enjoy the Museum’s spaces. I am very grateful to our Museum staff who have weathered the past few months of uncertainty, stepped up to care for our Members, and found ways to engage our audiences in alternate, virtual spaces. The staff has also been hard at work, alongside our volunteers, in ensuring the Museum can re-open safely and continue to serve our community.
During these past months, the Board of Trustees and staff have continued vital work to propel the Museum forward and ensure its stability. In April, we announced the selection of our new Sybil Harrington Director and CEO, Tim Rodgers, PhD, and welcomed him officially on July 1. In addition, a committee of Trustees and senior leaders has begun a strategic planning process designed to create a roadmap for navigating this new decade. Chaired by Trustee Donald Opatrny, the committee’s work focuses on the fulfillment of our mission and the needs of our diverse audiences, including longtime and new supporters.
Additionally, the Board has established a committee dedicated to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI), chaired by Trustee Alice Bazlen, who has served for many years as a Museum Docent. This committee will focus on diversifying our Board so that it not only represents but reflects our community. In addition, DEAI committee members will work closely with staff on various strategic priorities, including the recruitment and retention of a more diverse staff, with opportunities for individuals of every age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, faith tradition, and ability. We will update you on that work as it progresses.
I am extremely grateful to work alongside such committed volunteers who give so freely of themselves to support the Museum. I want to especially thank our Docent corps who have supported the Museum’s work in new and ingenious ways, including hosting online object talks for Members, providing virtual outreach to senior centers, and partnering with staff on programs designed to engage visitors safely and effectively.
Finally, I want to express our deepest gratitude for each of you. The challenges of COVID-19 have put the future of the Museum at greater risk than ever before. So many of our Museum Members and Circles of Support donors have stepped up to renew their Memberships and, in some cases, make additional gifts of support. During this time of pandemic and economic downturn, we continue to reduce and streamline our operating budgets and make prudent decisions to protect the Museum as a resource for its community, but we simply cannot do so without you. If you can lend additional support during this time, it will have a lasting effect for many years to come. I thank you for all you have done already for the Museum, and hope that we can continue, together, to ensure the institution weathers the strange fortunes of 2020.