Few Highlands neighbors better appreciate the relationship between adversity and opportunity better than freshly-minted Delaware Art Museum Executive Director, Molly Giordano.
As COVID slowed our neighborhood to a standstill, closed our schools, and forced us into isolation, the ten-year Highlands resident was at the interim helm of the venerable in-person institution. And very, very pregnant.
“Spring was a very rough time [with] the birth of my son, and my daughter’s school being shut down … plus the anxiety about the Museum at that time,” Molly said. “ was a very deep personal and professional adjustment.”
Add to that mix a long, hot, ofter-divisive summer punctuated by social unrest and activism, that implicated the museum’s “largely white, largely male dominated collection.”
In Highland Community Association’s inaugural Highlands Live, Molly spoke with enthusiasm, passion and clarity about leading the museum through a morass of PPP loans, institutional agita and cultural upheaval in order to take bold action, and emerge stronger than ever.
In addition to rebuilding visitation and in-person programming, Giordano will oversee a major gallery reinstallation, capital improvements to strengthen the core facility, and numerous upcoming exhibitions, including one celebrating African American art.
“We spent two years talking to the community, asking what narratives they wanted to know about, and asking them how they could see themselves better reflected, We took that into account on wall text, [and] we’ve added new works of art that have been acquired. It’s going to be a beautiful and I’d say deeply meaningful reinstallation, and it will be fully open by the end of the summer.”
“The second thing that’s opening in October is an exhibition that has been seven years in the making called, Afro American Image,” Molly explained. “In 1971, there was a transformative exhibition of black artists that was held in the Wilmington Armory, which is no longer in existence. This exhibition had some of the today’s biggest names of African American artists.”
Somehow, amidst it all, Molly is putting the finishing touches on a Creative Writing MFA from Widener University.
“One side of my brain is one that really likes to lead, large scale organizations, and think holistically, about how to use institutions to shape entire communities,” Molly said. “That’s something that’s really important to me.”
“Then the other side of my brain is processing life with my own writing. And I need both sides to be satisfied, to be happy.”