August 4, 2020, CHAMPAIGN Ill. — Krannert Art Museum (KAM, kam.illinois.edu) is ready to welcome visitors back to the art museum on campus at the University of Illinois. Not only will visitors soon encounter new art exhibitions, they will also see added hand sanitizer stations, directional signs, a mask requirement, and a new timed reservation system to help community members plan their visit and check in at the door.
“We’re thrilled to be able to welcome visitors again—we’ve missed them so much. And KAM staff has been working with care and thought to get the galleries ready for visitors,” says Museum Director Jon L. Seydl. KAM will reopen to the public at 10 am on Wednesday, August 19.
“KAM understands that not everyone will be ready or able to visit a public indoor environment right away, so we want to provide information that lets people know what to expect and how we can keep each other as healthy as possible,” says Julia Nucci Kelly, Assistant Director for Marketing and Communications.
The museum’s Know Before You Go page includes basic health and safety information, links to resources, and a glimpse at what’s new at the museum. “We’re eager for folks to come back to KAM and see the art again, but most of all, we want people to be comfortable, safe, and healthy when they visit,” Seydl said.
In an important development, KAM is unveiling new hours as part of its reopening plan. The museum will be open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm, with late Thursdays until 7pm once classes begin at the end of August.
“Not only are we debuting new hours,” Kelly says, “for the first time, we’ll also have an online reservations system so visitors can be physically distanced and check in with a gallery attendant at the door. The system is set up to accept reservations through the end of September to start, and the museum will reassess as local conditions warrant.
The COVID-19 health and safety protocols were developed to align with campus priorities and Phase IV guidelines from the State of Illinois. The timed reservation system will allow 12 individuals to enter the museum per hour, allowing KAM to operate at first with 25% capacity.
“Walk-in visitors can come into the galleries if space is available. Admission is still completely free, but we will ask everyone to check-in with a gallery attendant when they arrive,” Kelly said.
The KAM Auditorium and campus classroom will not be used this semester, and Espresso Royale café closed over the summer. The museum’s East Gallery and roof also are undergoing renovation.
“The closure turned out to be a perfect time to complete some needed work on our facility,” Seydl said. “So, the collection galleries on the Kinkead side of the building will open first. That of course includes Hive.” Seydl also noted that KAM has a full slate of fall exhibitions planned:
Homemade with Love, More Living Room—a yearlong exhibition created with and for Black girls in the community, celebrating their lived experience through art—opens August 27, 2020.
Pressing Issues: Printmaking as Social Justice in the 1930s US opens October 3 and features prints from the collection on issues such as immigration, racial discrimination, labor unrest, poverty, and the rise of fascism and nationalism.
Bea Nettles: Harvest of Memory is a retrospective exhibition that explores U of I alumna and faculty member Bea Nettles’s experimental approaches to art making. It opens later in the fall, coming to KAM from the George Eastman Museum and the Sheldon Art Galleries, and will be the first exhibition in the renovated East Gallery.
“It’s been an unprecedented year, to be sure,” Seydl remarked. “And we are truly excited to share our fall projects with the community. But right now our focus is taking those first steps toward welcoming visitors. We hope folks will be eager to come back and see the art in person.”