The Kemerer Decorative Arts Museum reopened on April 8, hosting a reception for their new exhibition, “Art at Home,” in conjunction with the celebration of their reopening.
The museum, a member of the Bethlehem Museums and Historic Sites, is one of 15 museums in the United States dedicated to the decorative arts.
“Art at Home” explores the connection between works of art and the home, showcasing works of art from private collections and local artists. It started as a virtual campaign and turned into a celebration of Kemerer’s reopening.
The exhibition highlights works of art that have been loaned to the museum from the owner’s homes. The lenders initially purchased the pieces through the Holiday Dinner and the Kemerer Art Auction, which has taken place for the past 28 years.
“When we realized we were going to be able to reopen, we decided that one of the best ways to do that was to take this virtual campaign and turn it into something physical here on site,” said Lindsey Jancay, Director collections and programming. in the museums and historic sites of Bethlehem.
Jancay co-organized the exhibition alongside local artist Sandra Corpora.
“That moment of wonder and discovery that happens when someone stumbles upon a work or piece of art that is meaningful to them or evokes a memory or feels familiar, are really special things that we can observe here in the museum when we’re here in person, ”Jancay said.
Alecia Caballero, programming and events coordinator for Bethlehem Museums and Historic Sites, said it was hard not to have visitors to the museum, but the pandemic also allowed them to be more creative and expand their programs, including making their free Sunday program at home virtual. via a newsletter and the launch of an online store.
“The outpouring of support has been absolutely wonderful,” Caballero said. “We are still here and still able to do the events that we always have as well as bring back the events of the previous year.”
Molly Breitbach, director of outreach and visitor services, said the past year also brought Bethlehem museums and historic sites out of their normal mold.
“I think this pandemic has really shown us what we are capable of and where we can strive to be,” Breitbach said. “Not only was it a difficult thing, it was an exciting thing.”
Corpora said she looks forward to seeing many of the collectors she has met over the years.
“It’s pretty involved from an artist’s point of view and a collector’s point of view, which is really fun and unusual,” Corpora said.
Corpora has been a full-time painter for over 20 years and is an iconic member of many well-known arts organizations including the Oil Painters of America and the American Women Artists.
Corpora said artists took advantage of the free time offered by the pandemic to work on their craft, but it was also sometimes difficult to find purpose and direction.
In recent years, the historic Moravian city of Bethlehem, the National Historic District of Museums and Historic Sites of Bethlehem, has been on the shortlist to become a World Heritage Site. It’s a distinction they would share with sites such as the Statue of Liberty, the Great Wall of China, and Independence Hall.
“It’s important that people don’t forget about local resources and culture, and the more local museums can reach and connect with people, the better,” Corpora said.
Caballero and Breitbach both said they look forward to welcoming the public with open arms to the Kemerer Museum and other museums and historic sites in Bethlehem, encouraging people to get involved.
“I think we are hopefully protecting the keepers of the records and helping to preserve and maintain these stories for generations to come,” Jancay said.
The Kemerer Museum will now be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“Upcoming virtual and in-person events for Bethlehem museums and historic sites can be found on their website, historybethlehem.org. “