Taking a Collective Breath
A message from our Executive Director What a difference a month makes. Just three weeks ago, we were providing arts and STEAM-based programming to 1,100 children in schools and training our dozens of part-time guides to start our mobile programming with our iconic purple bus. We were planning new programs, our summer ArtSpot festival, and major fundraising events. Most excitedly, our building was only 4 months away from “substantial completion,” which in the construction biz is the code phrase for “almost ready to be certified for occupancy.”
Well, now. Here we are. How easily the world has been turned upside down.
As of Monday, construction in our new space was officially suspended by the City. Schools are closed. We are unable to deliver our programming to our community in person.
In the last three weeks, we have been forced to quickly reevaluate and reimagine who we are and what meaningful ways we can connect with our constituency in the middle of a pandemic. We have had to ask ourselves hard questions like “What is our role and niche?” and “How do we sustain our funding and financial resources?”
So we stopped and took a collective breath. We stepped back and assessed the needs in our community through an online survey and by touching base with our partners directly. We took stock in our strengths and capacity as an organization, and reconnected to the core values on which the Museum was built.
Our process was not without tough choices. We have had to say so-long-for-now to 24 of our part-time staff and teaching artists in addition to suspending all spring and summer programming. In the midst of this, our bus is sitting idle in an auto repair shop, the result of being broken into recently.
All is not bleak. For the last ten years, the Bronx Children’s Museum has already been operating “without walls.” We have a significant library of programs and information specifically created for children, caregivers and educators which we can continue to bring to our community.
As of Monday, the Museum is offering daily art and STEAM-based activities curated from our array of popular in-school and after-school programs. Available through our social media outlets —Facebook, Instagram and Twitter—the activities range from animal encounters and science experiments, to art projects and musical games.
One of our greatest strengths is that we are a community. The people who make up our organization are talented, passionate and resilient. We are fortunate to have a committed team of strong individuals working their hardest to create new ways to engage with our community that are appropriate for our times. We have a network of caring partners with whom we can collaborate and share experiences. We have funders pledging to renew their financial bonds with the Museum and we have a diverse board of directors whose stalwart commitment will guide us through difficult times.
It is our commitment to support children to find their voice, fulfill their potential and connect to their individual communities, the Bronx and the world beyond. We sincerely look forward to supporting those goals. Whether it’s with or without walls, we continue to be open for our community.
Please stay safe and be well.