Founded in 1925, the Fitchburg Art Museum plays a vital role in the cultural life of North Central Massachusetts.
It has 20,000 square feet of exhibition space with a collection that ranges from Ancient Egypt artifacts to contemporary art of the 21st century, including American Art, African Art, and photography.
But the Fitchburg Art Museum is much more than a place where you can stroll through galleries or take painting classes – the museum sees itself as an integral part of the local community.
“Fitchburg Art Museum operates a little differently from most art museums,’’ said Nick Capasso, director of FAM. “We are dedicated to not only art and education but more broadly to community service. We feel strongly that we need to work directly with other partners in North Central Massachusetts to help revitalize the economy, to work on community and economic development and to contribute to the quality of life and community health for the people in our region.’’
Some examples of its community involvement: a local neighborhood association holds its regular meetings at the museum; the museum also launched a program with the Fitchburg schools, underwriting the admission fee so that every 4th and 7th grade student in the district makes an annual trip to the museum.
But Capasso said the primary example of FAM’s commitment to community and economic development is the work it’s doing with NewVue Communities to create housing for artists.
“We’re working together to transform three historic but abandoned municipal buildings directly across the street into a campus of 68 units of affordable artists units and studios,’’ he said. “This is a great collaboration and something neither the museum nor NewVue could do ourselves.’’
When the project is completed, there will be 100 artists living across the street from the museum, which will work with them to establish and nurture a creative community and economy.
The museum also works with the corporate community, offering a members program. Capasso said not only does the program help support the museum but is a way to provide cultural benefits to employees.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit non-profit organizations particularly hard, Capasso said FAM is open for business and is in a strong position to weather the storm.
“This pandemic has been a complete disaster for non-profit sectors, especially cultural non –profits,’’ he said. “This will not be easy and fun but we are in no danger of closing or merging or some kind of hibernation. We will be here for our community when all this is over.’’
The museum is located at 185 Elm St., Fitchburg.
It is open Wednesday-Friday, 12 to 4 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. It is open until 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month. It is closed Monday and Tuesday.
To learn more about the Fitchburg Art Museum, visit https://fitchburgartmuseum.org/.