People wander through the High Museum of Art during the Woodruff Family Fun Fest at the Woodruff Arts Center, Sunday, January 12, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

High Museum of Art closes due to coronavirus pandemic

The High Museum of Art, the region’s premiere museum, is closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization announced early Thursday evening, March 12.

“This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution and based upon the guidance of the CDC regarding “social distancing” and the elimination of large gatherings,” the museum explained on its homepage.

All events and programs at the museum have also been canceled, according to a museum statement.

The museum said it would continue to “assess and monitor developments,” before deciding when to reopen its doors to the public.

The High is the cornerstone of the city’s visual arts community, with holdings of more than 17,000 works of primarily 19th and 20th-century art, from photography to folk art to new media. Between 350,000 to 450,000 visitors go through the museum annually, according to Marci Tate Davis, High public relations manager. In an email, Tate Davis said that while the museum has closed before during weather emergencies, she could not immediately say if the museum has ever had an extended closure like the one it announced Thursday, March 12.

Among the current exhibitions were, “Fine Lines: American Works on Paper,” which was scheduled to close on March 22; “Paa Joe: Gates of No Return,” which is scheduled to run through May 31; and “Our Strange New Land: Photographs by Alex Harris.” The museum is to exhibit the official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama in 2022.

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