BMoA joins initiative urging Gov. Newsom to reopen the arts in support of mental health

Bakersfield Museum of Art
Posted at 3:35 PM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 18:35:36-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The first to close and the last to reopen. That's the mantra running through the head of Amy Smith, Executive Director of the Bakersfield Museum of Art.

"The arts really matter. When you're looking at art you don't necessarily need to be in a crowded area. There's lots of spacing," Smith said. "We believe arts are a catalyst for this community."

The BMoA has decided to join the statewide campaign "#RestartArtsCA." The campaign is a call for Gov. Gavin Newsom and state health officials to reopen arts safely with state-issued guidelines and allow arts to be a part of the solution to California’s recovery and collective mental health.

Smith said the BMoA is prepared to reopen while practicing proper health protocols. The museum has hand sanitizing stations, social distancing markers and regular cleaning schedules. Smith said they are working very closely with Kern County Public Health to follow guidelines but they would like more specific regulations from the state for the arts.

Smith said that they hope the state will realize the benefits the arts could have for a person's mental health during this time.

"Seeing a piece of artwork in person changes someone," Smith said. "Being able to see the brush strokes of a work or the size and scale of it is not the same as looking at it on a screen, whether that be a computer or a phone screen. There's just something really special about looking at art and sculptures and photography in person."