No one really knows how much the Milwaukee Art Museum can make an impact on their life if they never take a visit. In becoming an intern at the Milwaukee Art Museum, I have seen the Museum in a different perspective: how it has a role in people’s lives and in the community.
Starting from a small art gallery, the Milwaukee Art Museum merged and combined with other organizations and people to form what it is now. With, of course, the help of the community, the Museum has thrived into a famous attraction. A few people from the community went out of their way to start the Museum, and now the Museum is returning the favor to the community as a place to view and learn about art. Visitors even count the Museum one of “the top three of all I’ve seen since traveling around the world.”
In a recent discussion I had, my friends and I realized school and art programs are not well funded. The Museum is a place outside of school where children can still learn with the benefit of art, both in the galleries and in the Kohl’s Art Education Center—it helps kids see potential they can have in the art world. Having the Museum take out their time and money to help children see and create art is just what it means to be part of an art museum.
In the past weeks I’ve learned more about African American Art than I’d known before in one of the museum’s recent exhibitions, 30 Americans. Personally, my favorite piece is entitled Priceless by Hank Willis Thomas. His piece is an ironic twist to the average commercial ads. He shows how reality TV ads show the best things, how perfect life should be. Thomas displays how in reality there are struggles in African American men and how only a few things and influences can change your life. There is a great deal of art that can make you think in the Museum.
In order to see the art, and have the museum run efficiently, there has to be people running it. There are many people behind the scenes helping put on this great big show. Many are involved in getting things going, from the volunteers to the staff. They all have to make sure we as the public are able to see the art as it once was. It takes time and dedication; many of the staff are doing just that by conserving, protecting and showing it to the public. Without them we wouldn’t see much of the art we have today. Think about it, if no one conserved and protected any of the art do you think it would still be visible to see?
The community has a big part in the Museum’s life. Without the community involvement, the Milwaukee Art Museum wouldn’t function so well. And believe it or not, there are more volunteers than there are staff members! Jobs range from taking surveys to know the public’s opinion to helping with events that the Museum hosts. Also, there are many people involved in other ways, like donating their time and money to benefit the Museum. In return the community has a place of comfort that is there to meet their artistic needs. They do this because they believe the museum has a purpose worth keeping.
Overall, the Milwaukee Art Museum has a huge role in the community and people’s lives. In a collective collaboration with volunteers, they represent the mission of the museum. The Museum is one big community based on the intentions of benefiting the community. It enlightens people’s minds and hearts with touching art that becomes personal; it offers a place to go to relax. The Milwaukee Art Museum has been around for years. Its purpose in the beginning is the same as it is today: to benefit the city of Milwaukee and all who come into it, to go beyond natural barriers and connect visitors to different cultures, lives, history and art.
Dominique is a Summer 2013 High School Intern at the Milwaukee Art Museum. This post was written as part of a blogging lesson led by Emerald Summers, Summer 2013 Teaching Assistant Intern for Teen Programs.