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Supplies from the Whitney Museum of American Art. Photo: Gregory Marvin.
Supplies from the Whitney Museum of American Art. Photo: Gregory Marvin.

Arts Professionals Donate Protective Equipment to Medical Workers on Front Lines

As New York City’s health-care system struggles to keep up with the surge of COVID-19 patients flooding hospitals across the boroughs, artists, galleries, and institutions are donating N95 masks, nitrile gloves, aprons, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to local health-care workers.

The Brooklyn Museum, David Zwirner, the Frick Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library and Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art are among the organizations that have helped shepherd more than twenty thousand pairs of gloves and several hundred masks, protective booties, and other supplies typically used by art handlers to medical professionals in the city, which is currently the epicenter of the nation’s COVID-19 crisis. As of Wednesday, there are more than 83,000 confirmed cases in the state—more than half of which are in the city.

“There is a severe shortage of protective equipment for our front-line workers in New York who are risking their own health to protect our families and community,” Marc Glimcher, the CEO and president of Pace Gallery, who was recently diagnosed with the virus himself, told Artnet News. N95 for NYC, a group that is funding the shipment of protective gear from suppliers in China to New York hospitals, including NYU Langone, New York Presbyterian, Mount Sinai, and the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, was cofounded by Pace employees Hansi Liao and Echo He.  

Mask Crusaders, an artist-led initiative connecting medical workers with supplies, and PPE2NYC, which is run by medical students, are among the local efforts that have been launched to confront the severe shortage of protective equipment for health-care workers. Other organizations that have donated or pledged to donate supplies include Cheim & Read, Christie’s, Jack Shainman, Masterpiece, the Museum of Arts and Design, Richard Prince Studio, and Sean Kelly.