The Local Roots of the Bronx Museum of the Arts
Have you ever wondered why the Bronx Museum of the Arts attracts visitors from all around the world? Although it is not located in the middle of New York City, it is still a culturally significant institution. If you’re not convinced, we’ll persuade you with a museum tour.
Within its 33,000 square feet of space, the Bronx Museum of the Arts houses artworks that take root in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The museum’s collection is comprised of sculptures, paper works, paintings, and photographs. Its permanent collection alone is over 800, apart from the new pieces from budding artists that it accommodates through the museum’s exhibits every year. Everyone is welcome to visit, and free of charge, making it one of the most accessible museums in New York [Source: Wikipedia Bronx Museum].
Ushering Art and Connecting with Locals
In 1971, the museum first opened its doors to the residents of the Bronx borough. It was a joint initiative between the Bronx Council on the Arts and the Metropolitan Museum of the Art (MET). Its first exhibit was comprised of 28 paintings that belonged to the MET. From its initial location at Bronx County Courthouse, it was not long before additional galleries were established within Bronx’s vicinity. Said places are Co-op City, Bedford Park, and Allerton. In 12 years, more than 350 exhibitions were facilitated by the museum.
Years later, the museum transferred to its current location at Grand Concourse. The MET once again loaned artworks to the Bronx Museum of the Arts for its first exhibition. By 1988, it underwent expansion valued at $5.8 million. Another expansion effort was made in 2004, which paved the museum’s space to have ample coverage. In pursuit of the museum’s endeavor of progressing art through the development of young talents, its arts center was established. The center became a place where locals, especially children, can partake in the museum’s education programs [Source: Wikipedia Bronx Museum].
The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ current building is an award-winning architectural structure. Its hallmark design can be attributed to the skillful mixing of concrete, glass, and steel in its façade. Black granite and metal also embellished its ribbon windows, adding to the structure’s appeal [Source: Wikipedia Bronx Museum].
Panelization in its exterior is the distinctive trait that will bombard your line of sight as you approach the museum. The architect who had such an idea was the Arquitectonica. The said architect also designed the building’s interior, which stretches into several floors. Throughout, you’ll see the modesty of the building in its “scaleless” interior aesthetic [Source: Arquitectonica]. Inside the museum, there is a two-story lobby, art galleries, and facilities for educational purposes. A highlight of the museum’s spaces is the sculpture garden on its second floor. The garden is deemed “a white box with concrete floors” that visitors can explore [Source: Wikipedia Bronx Museum].
Several accolades were awarded to the museum regarding its building design. It includes the Design Award of Excellence from the Society of American Architects and the Excellence in Design award by the Art Commission of the City of New York, among others [Source: Arquitectonica]
Celebrating Art with No Boundaries
Many talented artists across the world have their artworks exhibited at the museum. One of them is Charles Scott, a prodigy from Scotland who is now a Community College Professor in the United States. In 2014, he put up two of his paintings at the Bronx Museum of the Arts as part of the New York Armory Show’s 100th anniversary. Scott’s aesthetic is the depiction of “individual reality.” He challenged the notion of surpassing barriers that hinders a person’s spiritual being. Formerly, Scott won the Walt Disney art competition when he was five. Later on, he pursued formal education and bagged other awards from different contests. He took home the Royal Scottish Academy exhibition’s first prize and was even nominated for “Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts and Cultural Life of NYC.” Scott is one proof that the museum is faithful in its commitment to sharing art regardless of race, language, or the geographical differences of artists [Source: Hostos].
Meanwhile, the Bronx Museum of the Arts holds an annual ball or gala. It’s an event where artists and their works are honored. The said ball is a fundraising initiative wherein the proceeds are allocated to continuously providing the museum’s offerings. Some of the museum’s services include the management of exhibitions, educational programs, and free admission for all visitors [Source: Bronx Museum Gala].
A Guide to Your Bronx Museum of the Arts Visit
If you are looking for free things to do in NY, consider going to the Bronx Museum of the Arts. It is free of admission and only requires booking through the museum’s website. The operation hours are 1 to 6 pm, from Wednesday to Sunday. During certain holidays, the museum is open but usually closes as early as 3 pm. It is close on New Year, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.
All visitors must follow the COVID-19 health and safety regulations. Whether or not they have had vaccinations, visitors are expected to cover their faces while in the museum. Large baggage and strollers are not allowed. Large umbrellas must be deposited at the front desk as they can damage art. There are wheelchairs readily available for people with disabilities; however, they can be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Group tours are available by request.
The museum is accessible by train, bus, or car in terms of transportation. It is situated at Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY. For car owners, the parking is at the front of the museum. Apart from in-person visits, the museum offers 360 degrees virtual exhibition views through its website [Source: Wikipedia Bronx Museum].
Bronx Museum of the Arts caters to the Bronx community, NY residents, and international visitors. The museum gears its efforts toward establishing rapport between its target audiences through art. It also serves as a global platform for artists who want to share their work. These artists come from diverse backgrounds. Every year, the museum supports 36 budding artists by providing room for growth through seminars that can further hone their skills. Notably, said artists also receive the privilege of being marketed by the museum, which helps them showcase their artworks. Annually, the museum facilitates more than one hundred exhibitions thematically, making it a recognized international institution that fosters art and culture.
Another initiative pursued by the museum in the development of future artists. It educates K-12 students and encourages them to delve into art, focusing on visual literacy, critical thinking, and academic proficiency. The museum offers the Group Visits Program, which conducts artist-led session tours through in-school partnerships. On the side, the Teen Council Program focuses on high-school students from the Bronx. It ushers their production of materials where they showcase and improve their “applied arts and media skills” [Source: Bronx Museum Mission].
Choose the Bronx Museum of the Arts for an all-in art and cultural immersion. It’s free and has an extensive collection for viewing. Anyone who wishes to pursue art or wants to share art pieces is welcome at the museum. At the Bronx Museum of the Arts, you can be a visitor or the next big artist of this generation.