Museum closing will interrupt artist's exhibition Budget cuts force pause in January

November 10, 1991|By Eric Siegel

The two-week closing of the Baltimore Museum of Art in January because of city budget cuts will come in the middle of an exhibition of 63 paintings by acclaimed African-American artist Jacob Lawrence.

The BMA will close Jan. 20, the day after the end of the current blockbuster Monet exhibit, and will reopen Feb. 4, a spokeswoman said.

In addition, beginning in February, the museum, which is closed Mondays, will also be closed all day Tuesdays and will curtail its late afternoon and early evening hours on Thursdays. The museum will thus be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Expanded hours instituted for the Monet exhibit will not be affected.

The Museum Cafe will continue to operate during the BMA's two-week closing, said spokeswoman Marge Lee. But she said it had not yet been determined whether the BMA's Meyerhoff Auditorium, which is used by a variety of arts organizations, would still be available during the period.

The shortened exhibit of Mr. Lawrence's work, which opens Nov. 26 and runs through Feb. 23, consists of 63 paintings depicting important events in the lives of Maryland-born abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.

"It's a shame because it's an exhibition we're very excited about," Ms. Lee said.

It is highly doubtful that the exhibit, which is being organized and circulated by the Hampton (Va.) University Museum, could be extended at the BMA because of other commitments, she added.

Ms. Lee expressed particular concern about cutting the museum's hours on Thursdays, which currently run until 7 p.m. "That is the one evening we're open. You're taking away an opportunity from the people who are working during the week or on weekends," she said.

All museum staff will be affected by the two-week closing and curtailed hours, she said, but she stressed, "The security of the collection will not be compromised. There will be no shortcuts there."

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