Winnie Jiang

After the Omicron surge kept visitors from Monet and Manet, Yale’s art institutions are preparing to reopen to the public.

Amid rising case counts in mid-December, Yale-affiliated art institutions including the Yale Center for British Art and the Yale University Art Gallery shuttered their doors to faculty, students and the public at large. The Gallery shut on Dec. 20 and extended its closure indefinitely on Jan. 3rd, citing efforts “to safeguard against the spread of the coronavirus…and to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff.”  

In a statement to the News, the Gallery announced that as of Feb. 8, they “are currently open to students, faculty, and staff — Yale ID holders — Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.”

The Gallery plans to open to the public on Feb. 25 and has been working alongside the University to implement safe entry procedures. Compliance with Yale’s vaccination requirements is a prerequisite for visitation.

In the meantime, the YUAG has maintained its extensive online collection, where e-visitors can access many of the gallery’s works virtually. For more enthusiastic fans, the Gallery is offering ‘E-Gallery Talks’ and a monthly online family program, entitled “Stories and Art,” during which Gallery staff tell stories and display related art for curious children. The program is offered in both English and Spanish, important for a city with an over 30 percent Hispanic population, according to the U.S. Census bureau. 

Jacob Martin ’25, an undergraduate student and New Haven native who remembers frequenting the Gallery with friends during his childhood, described taking trips to the museum first semester with his art history class.

“Typically I’d stay for a half hour to an hour after section, just on my own to walk the gallery and get to see the pieces,” Martin recounted.

Though he has not yet taken advantage of the Gallery’s webinars, Martin praised its online collection.

“They do have a really fantastic online catalog, which I used for a few of the papers I wrote last semester,” Martin said. “All the information you’ll need [for a class] is pretty much in the catalog.”

But for Martin, much of getting to know a piece of art involves seeing it in person and familiarizing himself with it in the museum setting.

Martin’s YUAG-affiliated class this semester, “Art and Technology,” suggests trips to the Gallery in its syllabus, and he is hopeful to return soon.

The Center for British Art closed to the public following the Dec. 20 change in campus alert status from yellow to orange. The Center announced via Twitter on Jan. 4 that it would “be closed to the public until further notice,” also citing “health and safety” precautions as the reason for its closure. 

In an email to the News, YCBA Special Events and Advancement Coordinator Kristin Dwyer wrote that the museum “looks forward to reopening to the public on March 3,” albeit with capacity limitations and additional safety guidelines.  

Upon opening, hours will be limited to Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to five. Proof of vaccination status will be required, but advance reservations will not be.

“The reopening date aligns with the opening of our special exhibition, ‘Bridget Riley: Perceptual Abstraction,’” Dwyer explained.  The exhibition will take place on two floors of the museum and traces Riley’s career over 60 years.

Throughout the closure, the YCBA has offered a number of talks under a program entitled ‘at home: Artists in Conversation.’  The complimentary online conversations place two artists in dialogue for an hour-long discussion regarding “various artistic practices and insights into their work,” per the Center’s website.  

While pre-registration is required, recordings of the program are made online after their live debut. Despite the museum’s reopening, the virtual program will continue into the spring.  

The Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art are located across from each other on Chapel St.

Miranda Wollen is the University Editor for the News; she also writes very silly pieces for the WKND section. She previous covered Faculty and Academics, and she is a junior in Silliman College double-majoring in English and Classics.