How are collectors and museums collaborating during this pandemic? One of Vastari’s members shares their experience with private collector loans during and after lockdown.

Vastari helped the Knoxville Museum of Art in Tennessee connect with a collector who owned a relevant work for their 2020 exhibition. The conversation between collector and the museum originally began in April 2019 for their exhibition in February 2020 which is still currently on display until October 2020. Like all museums at this time, they have had to change and adapt to the new normal.  This testimonial from the Knoxville Museum of Art is a great example of how one museum has navigated through this difficult time and has been able to stay dedicated to their mission of bringing fine art to the public.

This success story is particularly significant in 2020, given that the KMA’s team is shining a light on an important, but often neglected 20th century African American modernist and Abstract Expressionist painter from Knoxville: Beauford Delaney. This story of collaboration inspired us to ask Stephen Wicks, Barbara W. and Bernard E. Bernstein Curator at the KMA, a few questions about his experience.

Vastari: How did the Knoxville Museum of Art handle the exhibition calendar changes/postponements due to the lockdown?

Stephen Wicks (SW): We ended up canceling or postponing a couple of costly projects and developed inexpensive thought-provoking exhibitions pulled from our collections.

V: What exhibition in on show right now at the museum?

SW: Currently we have on view a special KMA-organized exhibition Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin: Through the Unusual Door (through Oct. 25), as well as two ongoing exhibitions from the KMA collection--Currents: Recent Art from East Tennessee and Beyond, Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee.

V: How did private collector lenders respond to a request for an extended loan for your current exhibition?

SW: They were extremely pleased with news of the extension and very supportive.

V: Are you forecasting a reduction of visitor numbers, and how are you calculating this?

SW: As expected, we are experiencing reduced visitation due to our implementation of reduced hours and required scheduled visits that enable us to maintain a physically distanced environment to insure the safety of our visitors and staff.

V: How did Vastari help you with loans for the current exhibition?

SW: Vastari put the KMA in touch with an out-of-town collector who agreed to lend a Beauford Delaney painting that was of vital relevance to our current special exhibition, Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin: Through the Unusual Door, for which we are very grateful..

Those who are interested in learning more about Beauford Delaney can check out the KMA website here or a virtual tour on Youtube here.