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Struggling Museums Need Help. 'Arts Through It All' Campaign Can Help

DENVER (CBS4) - Museums across Colorado have seen reduced ticket sales and low occupancy for most of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the holiday season, the Arts Through It All campaign wants to remind the public there are many ways to support these cultural institutions by giving, gifting and shopping with these museums.

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"Our purpose is both to celebrate the art and ideas of our time, but also to really engage with our visitors around those very pressing issues," said Nora Burnett Abrams, the Mark G. Falcone Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The MCA Denver reopened after the initial shutdown from the coronavirus on July 1. They had to close again during Level Red restrictions for three weeks in November before reopening in mid-December. Abrams says they've lost a significant amount of their earned revenue because of low ticket sales and much of their year has focused on programming virtually.

"It's so important because it really reminds everyone of the value, the import of feeling connected to the creative process, the creative practice, being inspired, being provoked," she told CBS4 on Wednesday.

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Smaller museums like the MCA and the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art hope the holiday campaign from Arts Through It All will encourage people to buy a membership and give it as a gift to others. Their retail shops also help local artists with proceeds going to the individuals and the institutions as well.

"Arts and culture is something that is enjoyed by everyone and I think it's definitely something that is a great escape in times like these," Renée Albiston, the museum's associate director.

A collection of Colorado fine art and decorative art from around the world, there are 4,500 objects on view including the work of its namesake, Vance Kirkland. It has only been at their current location in the Golden Triangle since 2018, it includes the original artist studio of Kirkland. They closed in March and reopened in August.

They also had to close briefly in the fall because of Level Red restrictions. Visitors coming to the museum is down 60 to 65%. But they have reopened with safety in mind, limiting capacity and creating a touchless experience. They have 15,000 square feet to spread people out.

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"We do have a state-of-the-art HVAC system with dual air that continually brings in outside and inside air circulating throughout our building," Albiston said.

The MCA has taken similar steps, consulting with medical experts, to make sure they are safe for their staff and guests. Their reopening comes at a time when their current exhibitions cover topics relevant to the moment in front of the country right after an election.

Museums hope, along with the support they continue to receive from the community, artists can get the attention they need from sales at their shops and other funds focused on them.

"These are what make our city and our community so extraordinarily singular, it's their points of view, it's their creative expression that make Denver such an extraordinary place to live," Abrams said.

LINK: Arts Through It All

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