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Joe Monks, Cay with two sailboats II, 1992. Photo: National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.

National Art Gallery of the Bahamas Offers Hurricane Relief to Dorian Survivors

In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas is offering sanctuary for survivors of the category 5 storm that razed entire neighborhoods and decimated the islands last week. Thousands of people remain missing, and the death toll, currently at fifty, is expected to rise. Despite damage to the museum’s building as well as some of its art—a comprehensive assessment has yet to be conducted—the cultural space has become a donation collection site.

Staffers have teamed up with groups such as Equality Bahamas and Women United to collect non-perishable food items and other goods and are working with bus services to transport Bahamians and supplies to and from shelters. Those impacted by the hurricane can also go to the museum to see mental health professionals, who are offering services ranging from meditation to counseling. 

Amanda Coulson, the museum’s executive director, told Artnews: “We’re dealing with people first. The whole country is traumatized.” She said the institution plans to expedite opening its Grand Bahama branch, in an effort to help kickstart the country’s devastated economy, in which tourism is the leading industry. “We need to invest in those islands in order to help them get back on their feet again,” she said. “It will probably take us five years to recover from this, minimum.”

A cofounder of the Volta art fair, Coulson has also distributed information about donating to hurricane relief groups like HeadKnowles and World Central Kitchen to the fair’s mailing list. In a letter addressed to Volta's family, friends, and colleagues, Coulson and Ulrich Voges wrote, “The climate has changed and we—living on on the frontline—feel it.”