UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Experiencing Art during a Pandemic

As we go into this new semester, it’s important to reflect on the major events and changes that we, as a society, have experienced these past few months, one of the most significant being the development of a very serious pandemic. We watched as COVID-19 rapidly spread across the globe and watched as it changed our lives and how we live on a daily basis in such a short amount of time. Many institutions were quick to change their procedures and protocols to provide a safe environment to combat the spread of COVID-19 and continue their operations. However, it seemed difficult for art venues in Boston to adjust to these quick changes. As Museum of Fine Arts director Matthew Teitelbaum asked, “How do you physically separate but socially engage?”(1) Art is something that connects people. More often, we experience art with others and socially engage to discuss art’s purpose, its aesthetic, its elements. And this culture is something Boston has embraced and has become a well-known destination for. Our art community is vast and diverse and something that Boston, in my opinion, has prided itself on. 

The MFA, along with many other popular art venues and museums such as the Harvard Art Museum, MIT’s List Visual Art Center, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and more, instantly began collaborating on how they were going to attack the situation and respond to the outbreak. The museums had been experiencing a large decline in their sales since their closing in March and were forced to cancel many different exhibits and events, causing an even larger loss in their ticket sales. The MFA was even “forced to furlough more than 300 employees” in response to the pandemic (1). 

Like many other institutions, these museums are becoming strict in their pandemic protocols, such as enforcing masks at all times while on their premises and introducing strong and intense cleaning products and procedures especially in common spaces such as restrooms. Most museums will also limit in-person sales and have little to no cash handling, depending more on their online ticket sales (1). 

Furthermore, they are embracing the use of signs that will direct and hopefully enforce the recommended six-feet-apart rule amongst their visitors. Luckily, distancing rules with the art itself have not been a problem, for these institutions and their employees are trained to enforce this distance. Also, hand sanitizing and hand wipe stations are being installed throughout these institutions (1). 

The experience of art is a lot different now compared to what we knew it as back in March. It feels strange to put more distance in this type of experience as it was something that once closely connected many people. However, with these changes, I believe we can still experience and admire art, and I encourage you to still try to do so! Of course, it is extremely important that we are following social distancing guidelines and sanitizing at all times in order to limit the spread of this virus, for the safety of our own selves and those around us. Then hopefully, in the near future, we can return back to experiencing art as we once did.


  1. https://www.wbur.org/artery/2020/05/18/boston-museums-coronavirus-reopening