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Art on your list for 2021? Admission is free Saturday at Longmont Museum

In addition to being a free day, Saturday also marks the last chance to view the Día de los Muertos Exhibition that features community altars, or ofrendas, and the artwork of Colorado artist Tony Ortega.
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Community altars at the Longmont Museum. (Photo by Silvia Solis)

People who added having more art experiences to their list of new year’s resolutions might want to start achieving that goal on Saturday, when admission is free at the Longmont Museum.

The day of free admission is part of the Second Saturday initiative sponsored by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, in which the museum has participated for more than 10 years, according to Scott Yoho, digital communications specialist at the museum.

The SCFD is a seven-county metro area tax district that supports arts and culture nonprofits.

In addition to being a free day, Saturday also marks the last chance to view the Día de los Muertos Exhibition that features community altars, or ofrendas, and the artwork of Colorado artist Tony Ortega.

The museum was forced to close at the onset of the pandemic before reopening in July and then closing to in-person visitors again in November when heightened coronavirus restrictions were put in place. It reopened again last month. Those closures meant in-person visits to the annual exhibit, which is part of the city’s 20-plus-year annual Day of the Dead celebration that annually attracts more than 6,000 spectators, were down this year, Yoho said via email. However, the museum created a 360 Virtual Tour of the exhibit, and virtual engagement increased significantly this year, he said.

And the museum already has its sights set on this year’s exhibit and celebration, thanks in part to grant funding from the Community Foundation Boulder County.

The museum in September received a $3,000 grant from the foundation to support 2021 Día de los Muertos programming, according to Yoho. That grant was bolstered again last week, when the foundation announced that arts and culture organizations that in the fall received grants from its Community Trust are getting additional grants of $1,650 each from its Millennium Trust. 

“The foundation sent these grants to 22 organizations in recognition of the extraordinary impact of COVID-19 on their bottom lines,” the foundation stated in a Monday blog post.

In addition to the museum, the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont also received an additional grant, according to the post. 

The grants to the Longmont Museum “will support both next year’s Dia de los Muertos exhibit and community celebration as well as general operating expenses. Both are essential in supporting the museum’s community-focused goals,” Yoho said in his email. “General operating expenses include everything we do: exhibits, performances, virtual programming, our all-important education outreach and more.”

Also key to the museum’s COVID-relief fundraising was support from the Stewart Family Foundation, which matched Friends of the Museum fundraising efforts that included the annual campaign, Colorado Gives Day and the Holiday Show Web-A-Thon, Yoho said. 

As it wraps up 2020, the museum also is looking ahead to what’s next in its display space. Starting Sunday, it will be closed through Jan. 18 for changeover to “Enduring Impressions,” a new exhibit that has not been seen before, Yoho said. 

“Enduring Impressions” was guest curated by Simon Zalkind and features the work of Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro, as well as lithographs each artist made in collaboration with printmaker George William Thornley, according to Yoho. The works are from the collection of Morton and Tobia Mower. 

“Controversial in its day, Impressionism is perhaps the most well-known movement in the history of art. By distilling life’s fleeting moments to their essence, Impressionism encourages us all to recognize art in our daily lives,” Yoho said in his email. “This exhibition is among the first to examine these relationships and to showcase the works that emerged from this influential moment in time. The exhibit also offers the rare opportunity to see original artwork by these quintessential Impressionist artists in person and in Longmont.”

While appointments aren’t required to visit the museum to see the Día de los Muertos Exhibition, as well as the permanent Front Range Rising exhibition, admission to “Enduring Impressions” that opens on Jan. 29 will be ticketed for timed entrance. Tickets will be available for purchase LongmontMuseum.org starting in mid-January, Yoho said.

For those hoping to make a trip this week to catch the Día de los Muertos before it closes, the museum is open to in-person visitors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. 

“New procedures have been implemented to ensure everyone’s safety. These include enhanced cleaning, limitations on the number of people allowed in the building at a time, signage for physical distancing, and reduced hours,” Yoho said. “ … In addition, visitors 3 and older are required to wear masks. Disposable masks will be available free of charge for people who arrive without one. Hands-on areas of the museum, including the third floor Longs Peak Room treehouse, remain closed at this time.”