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Bruce Museum Presents -Architecture 20/20: New Visions for Public Spaces in the Age of COVID-19

For museum directors, these are among the most pressing issues of our time: How will the global coronavirus pandemic change how public spaces are designed or modified, from classrooms to auditoriums, public restrooms to restaurants, hallways to elevators? How will the need for adequate social distancing impact how public spaces are used in a post-lockdown environment?

In a compelling new Bruce Presents virtual panel discussion via Zoom on Thursday, June 4, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, three executive directors of prominent cultural organizations will expand the conversation with four world-class architects to discuss Architecture 20/20: New Visions for Public Spaces in the Age of COVID-19. They are Pamela Franks, Executive Director of the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, MA; Nico Wheadon, Executive Director of NXTHVN, a multidisciplinary arts incubator in New Haven, CT; and Robert Wolterstorff, The Susan E. Lynch Executive Director of the Bruce Museum.

“The COVID-19 crisis makes urgent the need for new thinking about how we gather in our public spaces. It’s certain to lead to innovative, even surprising, ideas for how we can create new spaces, and for how we better use spaces that already exist,” says Robert Wolterstorff, an architectural historian by training who is leading the Bruce Museum’s transformative renovation and expansion project, already well underway.

“Museums are places where we come together, in real space, to engage in culture and discussion. Bringing people together is essential if a museum is to create a sense of community. These ideas of gathering and of community are deeply embedded in the designs for the New Bruce, and that’s why this topic is so important to me right now. The Bruce Museum is delighted to present this timely discussion.”

Providing expert insight into these new and urgent issues are four distinguished architects whose practices focus on the design of public buildings and spaces:

·         Steve Dumez, Principal and Director of Design at EskewDumezRipple

·         Craig Dykers, Founding Partner at Snøhetta

·         Maitland Jones, Principal at Deborah Berke Partners

·         Paul Schulhof, Principal at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

The four architects will open the program at 7:00 pm; the three museum directors will join the panel at 7:45. The program will conclude with a Q&A session moderated by Leonard Jacobs, producer of Bruce Presents.

“Earlier this year, we aimed to convene a group of architects to imagine the 2020s—trends in design and technology,” says Jacobs. “With the disruption caused by COVID-19, now we’re making a powerful pivot, one that calls for insight from museum directors on the front lines of this rapid change: Will the crisis revolutionize the design, form and function of public space—and how?”

Participation in the virtual Bruce Presents on Zoom for the benefit of the Bruce Museum is $25 for Museum members, $35 non-members. To reserve a place, visit brucemuseum.org or call 203-869-0376; a link to join the online conversation will be sent to registered attendees prior to the program.

Support for Bruce Presents is generously provided by Northern Trust and Berkley One, a Berkley Company.

Conceived by Suzanne Lio, Managing Director of the Bruce Museum, and launched in 2019, Bruce Presents has received enthusiastic reviews for its topical programming. Presentations on art have featured philanthropist/collector Jennifer Stockman, filmmaker Olympia Stone, and art historian/author Dr. Ágnes Berecz. Programs on science have featured an exclusive live Skype with Antarctica researcher Dr. Kim Bernard and provocative dialogue between artist/activist Alexis Rockman and David Abel, an award-winning environmental reporter at The Boston Globe.

“The Bruce Museum has long been an important resource in our community for forward-thinking public programs,” says Lio. “By leveraging our unique network of institutional and professional connections, the series offers unprecedented access for our members and visitors to major thought leaders in the fields of art and science.”