I am very pleased to report that both museums had a successful season despite the challenges of the ongoing Covid-1 pandemic. We reopened to the public as planned on Aril 1 and saw a steady growth in visitation, to the point where we were meeting or exceeding 2019 visitation. Unfortunately, the Delta variant surge in late summer and throughout the fall caused us to scale back on our programming and reinstitute our health and safety restrictions. The result was another year of adapting the way we operate to what has become the new normal, and yet ending 2021 in good shape in terms of daily visitation, community engagement, and donor and member support.
At FAM, the season was driven largely by our feature exhibition, Keith Haring: Radiant Vision, along with the timely Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams. The Believe in Yourself: What We Learned from Arthur exhibition opened in the early fall and was very popular with families. At TFM, visitors were able to enjoy our interpreters stationed in the Main Barn as well as Historic Village, and special offerings such as our Scarecrow Contest, food trucks, and hay maze. Our Things that Go Bump in the Night Tours at TFM, and our Art in the Dark Tours at FAM, also went very well.
Other programs were rethought or rescheduled in the wake of the fall Delta surge. At FAM, we held a robust Art by the Lake on October 2 and a successful Members’ Lecture and Reception on October 22. At The Farmers’ Museum, we put on a series of popular weekends in September and October as our Celebration of Autumn, in place of Harvest Festival and Tractor Fest. Likewise, our Annual Gala on October 8 was highly successful, and raised as much or more than our 2019 Rock and Roll Gala despite a smaller number of attendees. Our policy of limiting large events to vaccinated guests only, specifically for the Members’ Lecture and Reception and the Annual Gala, allowed for a safer and more festive atmosphere than we otherwise would have been able to have under the circumstances.
It was also encouraging to see that our former virtual programs, which evolved into hybrid and then back to in-person offerings, have maintained their audiences. Preschool Tuesday, expanded into a new format at TFM and was renamed Family Farm Fun. It drew more than 30 attendees every Tuesday and Thursday. Our new Young at Art! Youth Art Contest at FAM saw dozens of entries despite the remote learning environment in place in the springtime, and the resulting exhibit of award winners was a favorite among our local audience in April and May. Our Performing Arts were back with in-person shows on the Tavern Green at TFM and in the Lucy B. Hamilton Amphitheater at FAM.
Our most challenging area in 2021 was the ongoing difficulty in hosting school groups at either museum. We have worked with teachers and school districts to have vaccinated staff bring materials into classrooms, and to have school groups do self-directed tours on-site when requested.
There is so much more to report upon, as you can see from the ensuing pages. Rest assured that the museums are in very good position to have many successful seasons ahead, and we are much better able to operate in the face of adversity than we have ever been in the past. As always, I simply cannot say enough in praise of the entire staff. Everyone has been remarkable in their flexibility and innovation, along with their professional demeanor and good humor. They are the primary reason our two museums are weathering the Covid pandemic so well. And lastly, none of this would be have been possible in 2021 without our dedicated supporters, our highly committed Board of Trustees, and our generous donors, members, and visitors. Thank you!
PAUL S. D’AMBROSIO, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Fenimore Art Museum
Preserving – Engaging – Educating
Fenimore Art Museum is dedicated to welcoming and connecting people to our shared cultural heritage through exhibitions and programs that engage, delight, and inspire.
OFFICERS, DIRECTORS & SENIOR STAFF
Alexander R. Charlton, Secretary
Paul S. D’Ambrosio, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer
Stephen M. Duff, Assistant Treasurer
Anthony Fasano, Treasurer
Charles B. Kieler, Vice Chairman
Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman
Joseph Siracusa, Vice President for Operations
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Jane Forbes Clark
Stephen M. Duff
Douglas E. Evelyn
Robert S. Hanft
Charles B. Kieler
Reginald Q. Knight, M.D.
Doris Fischer Malesardi
Erna Morgan McReynolds
Anne G. Older
Thomas O. Putnam
Henry F.C. Weil, M.D.
SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM
Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio, President and Chief Executive Officer
Joseph Siracusa, Vice President for Operations
Barbara Fischer, Senior Director for Human Resources and Accounting
Todd A. Kenyon, Director of Marketing and Communications
Chris Rossi, Director of Exhibitions
Danielle Henrici, Director of Education