Letter from the Director

Letter from the Director

July 30, 2020 | Published by MMA


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the McMaster Museum of Art (MMA)—like arts, culture and heritage institutions across the country and the faculty of our host institution, McMaster University—moved with passion, speed and vision to virtual events and online programming. While our doors remain closed until such time as the University itself reopens to the wider public, we are working hard to serve our audiences and looking forward to welcoming you back inside the galleries when we are permitted to do so. <McMaster University COVID-19 updates>

As of mid-March 2020, the MMA immediately turned to an expansion of its online offerings. While enhancing the content of our regular online offerings, federal and provincial isolation and distancing protocols demanded that we find new and innovative ways to navigate and contribute to the online cultural community. Early in the pandemic, the MMA also contributed to local arts community dialogues around the arts and their role in societal well-being, social reflection and political awareness/accountability as well as to financial initiatives to support both the local arts community and the artists we work with in an institutional capacity.

At the MMA, we have long been active online. Indeed, our comparative statistics in relation to others in both our university-affiliate sector as well as in the surrounding local/regional public gallery arena, are stellar. In comparing against four social media categories: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter; in the university-affiliate sector, only one gallery outpaces us in all four categories, and only four, in three categories. This is impressive given the category includes 48 member institutions! In terms of the local/regional public galleries, amongst a total of ten colleague institutions; none out rank us in all four categories and, only two in three! Despite the digital successes of the Museum, when we launched our Strategic Plan 2020-2025 in January 2020, we determined that developing an enhanced, expanded and innovative digital strategy, was one of our top three priorities. Who could have known just a few short months later, the online would literally be our entire world!

As we approach week 21, the Museum has successfully transitioned the majority of its service contributions to the online world. All of our classes, tours, workshops, camp programs, collections access/resources, and so on, are accessible digitally. In the late Fall of 2020, as part of our strategic plan goals, we will be launching our new brand. Our desire is to present, in vision and content, the intentions of our current strategic plan. Over the past two years of work, our goal to disrupt the traditional museological narrative of the museum through active de-centering, de-colonizing and anti-racist priorities, has enabled us to dare to re-imagine the museum!

We’re doing great things at the MMA! We hope that you will join us as we continue to explore, excite and challenge the world around us through an experience with art.

Reaching out to you, safely, in the COVID pandemic.

Carol Podedworny