Museums are needed now more than ever. That’s why we’re eliminating our admission fee.
It’s been one week since the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh. On Monday evening, October 29, a group of Museum staff attended the vigil at the Westmoreland County Courthouse to stand in solidarity with the Jewish community, honor the victims, and condemn hate and violence. As a newcomer to Greensburg and southwestern Pennsylvania, I witnessed a community that came together to demonstrate that we are indeed stronger than hate.
It reaffirmed my belief that art museums matter now more than ever. We provide expanded perspectives of past and present experiences. We connect community and foster empathy. We provide a forum for people to experience the full range of human emotion. We create space for nuance and ambiguity. However, perceived and real barriers still deter some people from identifying the museum as a space that is accessible and relevant to them.
Looking out at the candlelit crowd on Monday, I was certain that I want everyone in the region to have access to The Westmoreland Museum of American Art on their own terms. And so, starting today, we are eliminating our suggested donation admission policy so the Museum is truly free and open to all. This decision is not one that is grounded in market research, but in our belief that everyone should have equitable access to the arts.
I am honored to be a part of this organization filled with loving, caring people, and privileged to be a part of this community. We will work diligently to not only open our doors, but to continue to reach out of our walls and extend an invitation, collaborate with other organizations, and together create a more comprehensive story of American art.
Sincerely, Anne Kraybill The Richard M. Scaife Director/CEO The Westmoreland Museum of American Art