In Praise of the Near and Dear
Dear Friends of the HRM,
It has been . . . a year. As 2020 draws to a close, I’ve been thinking about the challenges of the past months and how deeply grateful I am for your continued participation and support. Here at the Hudson River Museum, we have been delighted to welcome those who have come in search of inspiration in our galleries. At the same time, we have embraced a new purpose in building our vibrant online community, made up of friends from around the corner and across the globe. Wherever you visited from, know that your presence instilled in us a sense of purpose.
I am a strong proponent of creativity within constraints. If there was ever a time to put this concept into action, 2020 was it. When we reopened at the end of July, we did so based on a plan developed by members from every department of the Museum. Our team combined reflection and action to find new ways to organize exhibitions, juxtapose rising local artists affected by the pandemic with names already well known, share images of joyful lived experiences, and connect with our audiences through our Museum from Home content. We were determined to find safe ways to bring music back to our Amphitheater and you were with us for every note. At all turns, our team, our partners, and our community have demonstrated their willingness to adapt and find new ways of working together. Masks on, minds open.
It has been a sincere pleasure to hear from you about how the Museum has served as a place to safely find inspiration, either alone or in the company of loved ones. We invite you to find your space in Women to the Fore, Landscape Art & Virtual Travel, and Librado Romero: From the Desert to the River.
In the weeks ahead, escape the cold and explore your interests at the HRM during virtual art-making and science workshops, tours of historic Glenview, and more. To keep our earthly issues in perspective, tune in to School’s Out, Stars Are In (SOSI) and take in a free virtual planetarium show—a mindful way to step out of your routine and experience the night sky.
We recognize there is still uncertainty ahead, and yet this much we know is true: this year, the holiday season isn’t about far-flung vacations and adventures. It’s a year to find grace and gratitude in the near and the dear. As we hunker down with those closest to us over the next week, let’s pause to embrace not the epic, but the everyday. Appreciate the small acts that mean so much more. For example, giving a toddler a bath or braiding a child’s hair, have spurred the creativity of artists ranging from Mary Cassatt, an American painting in Paris during the nineteenth century, to Jessica Spence, a contemporary American artist based here in New York. The work of both women is featured in our exhibition Women to the Fore, which gives space to more than 40 other female-identifying artists spanning more than 150 years.
Lessons from art, science, and history motivate us to think, to question, to seek common ground—and to act and revel in our human capacity for positive change. We are deeply grateful for your continued participation. To all our supporters, collaborators, members, and community partners, we send heartfelt thanks and invite you to join us in looking forward with a spirit of optimism toward the brighter days that await in 2021.
Director and CEO
Left: Jessica Spence (American, b. 1986). Sunday Evening, 2017. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist. © Jessica Spence.
Right: Mary Cassatt (1844–1926). The Bath, 1890–91. Drypoint, soft-ground, and aquatint on paper. Courtesy of Adelson Galleries.