Post-election mental health and wellness events at US museums and galleries

A guide to in-person and online programmes that offer some mental and emotional relief this week

Heather Hart's rooftop sculpture Oracle of the Twelve Tenses (2020), part of the at the Queens Museum's show After the Plaster Foundation, or, “Where can we live?” Photo: Hai Zhang

Heather Hart's rooftop sculpture Oracle of the Twelve Tenses (2020), part of the at the Queens Museum's show After the Plaster Foundation, or, “Where can we live?” Photo: Hai Zhang

Stay up late watching the US election results come in, or just generally stressed out after a particularly anxiety-inducing political season? We feel you—and so do many American museums, with a number offering post-election wellness events to help in-person visitors and online followers find some mental and emotional relief.

Wednesday, 4 November

Starting at midnight on Wednesday, and continuing for 24 hours, Fridman Gallery and the WideAwakes art group are hosting a broadcast of live sounds, performance, film, and moving images at The full-day programme includes “joyful expressions of activism” from artists and musicians including Terence Nance, Blitz Bazawule, Matana Roberts, José Parlá, Nate Lewis, Black Thought, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Shyvonne, Michele Pred, Deborah Willis, Hank Willis Thomas and others, with live performances streamed from the gallery starting at 2pm.

That same day, from 2-3:30 pm, the Brooklyn Museum has a free online event with the art therapist Sarah Pousty and museum educator Dalila Scruggs, during which participants will “rest and reflect in community, explore a work of art in depth through close looking and discussion, then create artworks of our own”.

And a little later from 4-5pm, the Queens Museum is inviting community members for a socially distanced moment of reflection and replenishment led by the intuitive healer Tiffani R. Moore. A maximum of 25 visitors will be able to register to attend the event in person, but everyone can join the livestream, which will also feature American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation.

Those short on time can tune in to the Neuberger Museum of Art’s Wellness Wednesday virtual guided meditation events, led by instructor Janelle Berger. The whole series is available on the museum’s Vimeo channel and each session only takes about 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, 5 November

The schedule continues on Thursday, with the Hammer Museum’s free weekly drop-in Mindful Awareness Meditation series. Usually held in its Billy Wilder Theater, the sessions are now offered live on Zoom, from 12:30-1pm PST, and are led by Diana Winston and other instructors from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.

Not directly aimed at wellness, but sure to help refocus the mind is the Metropolitan Museum’s The Observant Eye online event, held from 6-7pm. Led by museum educator Elizabeth Perkins, participants will “tap into our powers of observation and investigate a work of art together through close looking and discussion”. And since the event is being held virtually, it gives art lovers the chance to look at work “not currently on view in the galleries or are too small for in-person group visits”.

And to end the evening on a positive note, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem is hosting a special post-election edition of its Jazz and Social Justice talks series. Starting at 7pm, the free YouTube event will feature a performance by the jazz pianist Gerald Clayton, followed by a discussion with the series host Larry Blumenfeld, the clarinetist Evan Christopher and vocalist Fay Victor about the road ahead.