Meet the Extended Staff: Exploring the Museum’s Vision for a Creative Community

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As the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum turns ten, the staff who made the building the center of the MSU community’s art scene reflect on what made the museum so successful in attracting artists to a campus based on athleticism.

Steven Bridges recently became the museum’s acting director. He worked as a curator for six years before taking over as head of the cultural centre. He wants to lend a hand to the institution during the interim period.

“I think it’s important that this time, especially with all kinds of changes we’re going through, both on a broader societal level but also in our different communities, museums need to be very in tune and responsive to our current changing world,” Bridges said. “Part of that has to do with building different processes so…we’re working to make sure that the work we produce isn’t done in a way that’s not entirely insular.”

While Bridges said the main focus of the museum is showcasing art and working with an amazing collection. Being part of the university implores them to engage with faculty and student groups. He wants their exploration of diverse cultures, ideas and perspectives to have a local connection.

Bridges wants to use the museum to champion economic and cultural wealth, creating a space where the public can reflect, discuss and tackle some of the most pressing issues.

He said that with the Great Lakes being prevalent in the region, the museum was able to use this issue in an exhibit to explore and expand on social issues.

“Having these kinds of dualities and perspectives and connecting them, I think, enriches the conversation and hopefully also connects… across the world,” Bridges said.

Bridges has long been interested in sociopolitical issues and how art can play a role in these conversations, as well as the fusion of science and other artistic disciplines such as music, film and poetry in the museum.

“As an institution, I think we’ve always produced to a very high level of integrity,” Bridges said. “I think our exhibit is truly world-class.”

Bridges believes this high artistic standard will continue with the unveiling of its new special exhibitions: one dedicated to the museum’s architect, Zaha Hadid, and his design work, as well as a partnership with the Flint Institute of Art. and the University of Michigan.

Communications director Zoe Kissel said she had been a musician all her life and majored in film production when she attended MSU. Working at The Broad has allowed her to continue to be practical and creative in her work and her favorite community.

“I think the arts are so important,” Kissel said. “I think a lot of people know MSU for its athleticism, but we also have such a robust and energetic arts scene here on the College of Music campus, the College of Arts and Humanities and just in the Greater Lansing community in its together.”

Kissel is very proud of the variety of programs offered by the museum, from lectures to workshops on all artistic mediums that might be of interest to the community.

She said her favorite part of the job is going to work every day not knowing what the day will hold, with something new and exciting always happening in the museum.

Director of Education Michelle Word works with MSU students and faculty to bring K-12 students to the museum to learn about the love she now has for art. Although Word never went to a museum until high school, she works to make it easier for kids to access art with museum awareness days like Family Day.

“I hope these students are going to be lifelong museum goers, lifelong arts supporters because of their experiences,” Word said.

Because the Broad is the only art museum in the central Michigan area, the museum has a responsibility to provide programming that enables sustained access to the arts in schools, especially when school budget cuts public places make it more difficult to devote time to art. in schools.

“I love that when I show up to work, it’s something different every day,” Word said. “My experience with a work of art changes because I can hear it from other people. I hear from many different perspectives.”

Word is excited to see the museum grow after its ten years, wanting to build something into this relatively young museum. One project she is excited to see is the Open Storage Collection, where the museum will display more works from their 10,000-piece collection that have never been seen before.

Assistant Director of Development Sandra Brown discovered her love for art when she majored in dance at MSU, but has always had a passion for the visual arts. Her family’s extra money went towards her and her sister so they could attend their local museum’s art programs. Now Brown wants to share those same experiences with the public, wanting the museum to feel less like an elitist pursuit, but something accessible to everyone.

“Visiting museums and cultural sites, like zoos, aquariums, or science centers, those kinds of things have always been part of who I am privately,” Brown said. “Supporting this publicly and helping to do this is definitely a passion for me.”

Brown’s role is to connect people who can generate funds philanthropically in the community to museum interests and projects that need financial support. She said the museum is a vital cultural resource that provides visitors with a rich physical and social environment, engaging all ages and walks of life.

Brown wants people to see the Broad as a place where they can bring friends or family when visiting campus, creating a vibrant center for social interaction.

“That’s the great thing about art,” Brown said. “It transcends borders. So people who have interests, whether it’s science, engineering, business, or art, doctors, lawyers, people from all walks of life, they can be interested in art and I think that is the unifier.

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