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MAKING WAVES: Creating Innovation Part 1 – Taking Shots in the Dark

May 22, 2020 | Allyson Hitte | Press Room/Blog


For the next few weeks on MAKING WAVES, MMA Executive Director, Stuart A. Chase will be talking about the innovation process, what it takes to be truly innovative, and why this is so important in a COVID-19 reality.  This week, Stuart is thinking about Charles Rollo Peters’ Untitled (Night Scene of Old Castro-Work Adobe) and what is means to take shots in the dark.

Charles Rollo Peters (1852-1958), Untitled (Night Scene of Old Castro-Work Adobe), ca. 1920s, oil on canvas, 32 x 55 in. (81.28 x 139.7 cm). Monterey Museum of Art. Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. W.R. Holman, 1982.044.


As of this morning, it has now been 68 days since the Monterey Museum of Art closed its doors to the public.  That’s 68 days the Museum has gone without school tours, exhibition openings, and a large portion of our revenue.  But that’s also 68 days that our staff has been working from their kitchen tables instead of their offices, and 68 days in which everything they have learned over prestigious careers as museum professionals has become irrelevant.

69 days ago, our education staff had a fine-tuned school program to transport and educate thousands of children from across Monterey County.  Now, they are working to find a way to educate school children remotely and with limited financial and human resources, preparing for all possibilities.

69 days ago, our advancement team was putting the finishing touches on our annual Spring Gala, expected to raise almost half of MMA’s operating budget for the entire year. Now, with less than 2 months remaining in our fiscal year, they are working around the clock to come up with creative ways to secure critically needed operating support during a global pandemic and one of the worst economic recessions in modern history.

69 days ago, our exhibitions team was celebrating a successful winter exhibition season, and preparing for our summer blockbuster, “Color Duets: Kaffe Fassett and Erin Lee Gafill.” Now, they are coming up with multiple plans to keep our members, staff, and the public safe when we are permitted and prepared to open our doors again.

We live in unsettled times, but these stories demonstrate the incredible innovation taking place at the Monterey Museum of Art.  We have many successes and many failures, but we’re in this together with every other small business, nonprofit, and cultural institution.

As always, I’d love to hear your feedback on how we’re doing. Please call me, email me, or comment on our social media posts – we’re here to serve you and we need your help to do that successfully.  As a non-profit, we rely not only on your moral support, but on your financial support to keep us going.  Please read our emails, follow us on social media, and be generous in any way you can.  We will get through this, we just have to stick together and never stop taking shots in the dark.