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The Director

December Director’s Message

Morgan Great Hall, decorated for the holidays

Dear Friends,

December looks a bit different in this year of extraordinary circumstances. So too at the museum. We have decorated the galleries for the season and extended free admission through January 3, 2021. The perennial favorite of so many, the Festival of Trees & Traditions, could not take place as usual, but the museum will still be filled with sounds of joy from a series of instrumental music performances to put you in the holiday mood, most Fridays 5:30-7:30pm and Saturdays and Sundays 2-3pm now through January 3. Check our events calendar for details. I hope you will take advantage of the museum as a place to see friends and family while socially distanced, surrounded by great art and holiday cheer.

For the many of you who support the museum during the Festival of Trees & Traditions every year, I invite you to consider a gift to the  Annual Fund. To help your contributions go even further, the Scripps Family Fund for Education and the Arts (SFFEA) has generously pledged a matching gift. For every dollar raised up to $40,000, SFFEA will match these contributions to ensure that the Wadsworth can continue to fulfill its mission of inspiring everyone to experience and appreciate excellence in art and culture in the coming year.

One of the characteristics of our museum that never ceases to surprise is the many multi-layered stories connected to so many collection items. Check out a new temporary installation of a long-overlooked collection gem–an eighteenth-century loom, now on view on the second floor of the Avery Memorial. Last housed at the Wadsworth Tavern on Albany Avenue before coming to the Wadsworth in 1917, this timber-frame loom has been reassembled with the help of Nevan Carling, an archaeology and heritage management student at the University of York in the UK (his back is turned to us in the photo below).

Nevan C

Watch the re-assembly process here. And, engage with our current exhibitions from anywhere–take a virtual tour of Ali Banisadr / MATRIX 185 and read the recent favorable Wall Street Journal review of Savor: A Revolution in Food Culture (on view through January 3, 2021).

The milestones of this last year are recorded in our 2020 Annual Report, available to view digitally on our website and printed copies are free upon request at our entrances. Opening the report are two future-focused articles: one has excerpts from a panel discussion about pillar institutions like ours within the future of American cities; the other is a focus on the Wadsworth’s relationship with Milton Avery, an artist who learned his craft and exhibited here, and whose legacy lives on in our collection and programs.

I want to thank everyone who continues to drive forward productive conversations with us about the future. As I commented during our recent Annual Meeting these shared commitments to the future and love of this museum propels everything as we navigate this year of relaunch and recovery. We’re welcoming some wonderful people to our dedicated Board of Electors and Board of Trustees. Our priority is to be here for you now and better prepared to serve in the future.

My sincere thanks to each of you who have renewed and strengthened your connection with the Wadsworth this year, and especially to those who have found reasons to share the wonder of the Wadsworth with others in your life. Best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy holiday season. See you in the New Year!


Thomas J. Loughman
Director and CEO

A statement from Kimberly Kersey and Tom Loughman

June 3, 2020

Charly Palmer, I Am A Man, 2006. Acrylic on wood with mixed media. Collection of the Amistad Center for Art & Culture

Charly Palmer, I Am A Man, 2006. Acrylic on wood with mixed media. Collection of the Amistad Center for Art & Culture


A simple yet poignant statement – “I Am A Man.”

We find ourselves searching for words to adequately convey the emotion we feel as yet another name is added to the list of Black lives unjustly taken. There simply are none.

It is our hope that the rightful outrage over George Floyd’s death becomes a catalyst for the uncomfortable conversations and realizations that must be had for real social change to occur. Our institutions thrive when we lean in to our collective humanity and stand together to honor our differences. Through the power of art, we encourage expression and generate mutual understanding. We renew our resolve to be a place for community support, growth, and healing.

With eyes and hearts and arms wide open, we know society can do better. We must do better.


Kimberly Kersey Signature

Kimberly Kersey
Executive Director
The Amistad Center for Art & Culture

Tom Loughman Signature

Tom Loughman
Director & CEO
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art