Frick Remains "Open" to Global Audiences Through a Wide Range of Free Online Programming

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Talks, Tours, Conversations, Webinars, and More

(New York, May 12, 2020)—The Frick Collection has long been recognized for its expansive online content. In 1998, it was one of the first museums in the United States to offer a virtual tour on its website, and it was also quick to present live-streamed lectures, with more than 250 free talks and symposia available today on and its YouTube channel. In response to the 2020 pandemic closure, the institution has remained “open” to a global audience by creating a variety of engaging new content, including two much-lauded weekly video series (“Cocktails with a Curator” and “Travels with a Curator”) as well as interactive education programs, free online visits for school groups, prompts for creative activities from sketching to poetry, and webinars for art historians in search of tools and tips to help further their online research. The institution’s social media channels remain active (and growing), and its blog pages have been reorganized and reinvigorated.

Comments Ian Wardropper, Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Director, “These uncertain times have proven difficult for all of us who enjoy visiting museums in person. The Frick rose to the challenge by quickly producing exciting new content that allows us to share the works of art we love so much. We’re excited to extend our outreach to many outside the museum community, an extremely rewarding endeavor involving a wide swath of staff input and expertise, from curators, educators, and librarians to the marketing and digital teams. The response has been amazing, with high viewership and warm public feedback, and new followers worldwide.” Adds Xavier F. Salomon, Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, “This occasion has offered us an opportunity to explore new ways of connecting with many different audiences through virtual conversations, presentations, and activities. The appreciative comments we’ve been receiving have been extremely gratifying, and it’s wonderful to still be able to share the Frick’s glorious art with so many during this stressful time.” The public may learn more by signing up for the weekly “Frick at Your Fingertips” newsletter and/or by interacting directly with the institution on a range of social media channels.

Time Spent with Curators

In recent weeks, thousands of online viewers have enjoyed what has quickly become a popular Friday evening event called “Cocktails with a Curator,” in which a curator discusses one work from the permanent collection, placing it in context of the present pandemic. The program, which streams on Fridays at 5:00 p.m. (EST) on the Frick’s YouTube channel, is meant to be enjoyed with a cocktail (or mocktail) selected to complement the work of art being discussed. The series, now five episodes strong, has garnered nearly 100,000views in its first month alone. All episodes remain available online for future viewing. A series of destination videos, “Travels with a Curator,” takes viewers on virtual journeys to cultural and historic sites relevant to the Frick and its history. Each episode premieres exclusively for members Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m. (EST) and is posted on YouTube the following week for the public to enjoy.

A New Conversation: “The Frick Five”

This week, the museum launches “Frick Five,” a video series presented by Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon and Curator Aimee Ng, in conversation with invited guests from other cultural institutions. In each semi-monthly episode, a set of five questions will be posed in this entertaining and fresh exchange of viewpoints. The premiere episode, posted on May 12, features Salomon, interviewing Nathaniel Silver, William and Lia Poorvu Curator of the Collection at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Education Presents Six New Programs Through “Frick Connections

The Education Department has created dynamic online offerings that bring the Frick’s celebrated permanent collection into the homes of students and art enthusiasts in New York City and around the globe. Modeled after the Frick’s popular in-gallery programs, “Continue the Conversation” invites viewers to connect with art and each other by joining a museum educator in an online discussion focused on one or more works of art. “Get Creative” offers inspiration through writing and art-making ideas, and selected submissions are shared through an online gallery and on the Frick’s social media pages. Online school visits are supporting remote learning during closure by inviting students in middle school, high school, college, and graduate classes to explore selected works of art together. “Voices of the City” offers an inspiring look at collaborations with the institution’s community and cultural partners, among them the East Harlem School, Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine Program, and the Ghetto Film School. These posts demonstrate the vitality of ongoing Frick partnerships, which culminate in musical performances, poetry recitations, and short films. “Untold Histories” shares new perspectives on the Gilded Age. This blog considers life behind the scenes at the Frick mansion and introduces some of the staff members who resided and worked at 1 East 70th Street when it was the private home of Henry Clay Frick and his family. “Out of the Virtual Vault” features a curated selection of video highlights from past lectures, panel discussions, gallery talks, and performances. For information on these education initiatives, visit the Frick Connections page of the website.

Specialty Programs for Researchers and Book Lovers

Through innovative live webinars and digital workshops hosted by the Frick Art Reference Library, humanities scholars are being introduced to free research tools, databases, and visual repositories—not just at the Frick, but at other reference libraries around the world. These virtual gatherings are making it possible for students, scholars, and art history professionals across the globe to continue their research projects during the period of institutional closure. Online programs introduce users to various resources such as the Frick’s Digital Collections and research tools like Zotero and WorldCat. Programs also cover a range of topics, from World War II–era provenance research to a hands-on demonstration of an interactive digital image manipulation software called ARIES. In addition, the Center for the History of Collecting continues to present new research through a virtual version of its regular Fellows’ Forum events. For avid readers, the library is offering virtual book club meetings led by the Frick’s librarians.


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