Fresno Art Museum reopens to members on Saturday and to the general public on Aug. 11

Updated 8/11: The museum has postponed its opening to the general public until Saturday, Aug. 14. Details here.

The Fresno Art Museum is opening its doors again.

And for that we can be thankful.

Pictured above: Jim and Micheline Curnyn enjoy the Fresno Art Museum on ‘reopening day’ in October 2020. Photo: The Munro Review

Members of the museum will be welcomed back starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 7. The members-only invite extends through Sunday, Aug. 8 (hours for both days are 11 a.m.-5 p.m.)

“We want to thank our members for their support and loyalty the past 16 months,” says Michele Ellis Pracy, the museum’s executive director and chief curator.


Then, on Wednesday, Aug. 11, the doors will be open for all visitors at a reduced admission charge.

“We are excited,” Ellis Pracy says. “The timing feels just right. We just hope this virus won’t escalate again. We’re on pins and needles.”

Here’s a rundown:

The obstacles: The museum was battered by the pandemic, of course, just like other cultural institutions, but it also faced unique reopening challenges. Repairs to the city-owned facility’s HVAC system have taken much longer than expected, thanks to supply-chain and labor issues. And three of the museum’s major galleries — the Fig Garden, Duncan and Hallowell galleries — will remain closed temporarily while a new track-lighting system is installed thanks to the Electric Motor Shop, which gave the museum a great deal, Ellis Pracy says. (Again, supply-chain issues have plagued the installation.)

The exhibitions: Four of them will greet visitors. “Bonnie Peterson: Another Glorious Sierra Day” and “Impressions of Bohemia” are holdovers from last fall, when the museum was able to reopen briefly before COVID worsened once again. And there are two new exhibitions: “Art of the Word: Celebrating Differences” features the illustrations of Rafael Lopez based on Sonia Sotomayor’s book “Just Ask.” And “Delicious: The Art of Food from the Permanent Collection” includes an Instagram crowd-sourcing activity that asks you to submit your own favorite food.

Still to come: When the new lighting is installed, the museum will reopen ​​“Here She Stands,” featuring works of celebrated women artists from the museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition was available for a very short window of viewing last fall. (You can read my report on that brief opening, and some of my impressions of the show, here.)

COVID protocol: Masks are required, no matter your vaccination status, and will be provided for free if you need one. No reservation is needed.

Looking ahead: There’s another first coming up soon for the museum. It will hold its first in-person fundraising event on Saturday, Aug. 28, at the San Joaquin Country Club. Titled “Hukilau!,” it is a Polynesian-themed evening. Details are here.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (1)

  • Jackie Ryle

    Thank you, Donald, for bringing this good news and sharing the details. I’m excited for the Art Museum and for all of us who get to return


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