The Krei Family Sponsors a Month of Free Admission in Memory of Melinda Krei
The Museum is honored to have received the Krei family’s tremendous gift to support amonth of free admission for all visitors when we reopened to the public this past summer. The family provided the sponsorship in memory of the late Melinda Krei, and comments from guests overwhelmingly expressed their thanks to the family.
“Melinda was one of the Museum’s greatest advocates, and her legacy is sharing the comfort and inspiration she found here with the community during this challenging time,” said Marcelle Polednik, PhD, Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director, Milwaukee Art Museum.
“We believe it’s a fitting tribute to Melinda,” said Ken, Melinda’s husband, when he and their son, Andrew, spoke with the Museum shortly before the reopening. They talked about their family’s relationship with the Museum and expressed the hope that their gift of free admission would “give the community, during what are challenging times, an opportunity to enjoy the Museum, the collection, and the facility.”
Why is this sponsorship special to you both?
The Milwaukee Art Museum is an institution that our family has enjoyed over many years. We’ve participated in various support groups and on the board and have a deep appreciation for the
Museum’s mission. Melinda’s love of the facility, the programs, and the staff made the Museum a special place for her and our family. Andrew and I are especially proud to provide support at a time when the reopening can be an important part of Milwaukee’s emergence from the effects of the pandemic.
What makes the Milwaukee Art Museum an important institution for the Milwaukee community?
Communities need publicly available institutions that can educate and provide enjoyment for all ages. The Museum can be a source of inspiration and is a hub of engagement within our community. Moreover, the Museum has become a worldwide symbol for Milwaukee. Bringing art and art resources to the community and region helps attract investment by businesses and provides a cultural element that is necessary for growth and expansion.
What do you enjoy most at the Museum?
Ken: My favorite areas in the Museum are Mrs. Bradley’s Collection galleries, Café Calatrava, and the area in the northeast corner overlooking the lake. While I enjoy much of the contemporary
collection, my favorite piece is The Wood Gatherer by Bastien-Lepage.
Andrew: I always enjoy spending time with Mrs. Bradley’s Collection, but my favorite piece is Frank Stella’s wonderfully colorful and geometric Chocorua III. One of my favorite things in Milwaukee is walking into Windhover Hall. It’s such an extraordinary structure and a grand space, and you know that you are somewhere special from the moment you enter.
Do you each have a favorite Museum memory?
Ken: My favorite memory is the opening of the east addition. Through significant work and engagement with various cohorts, the Museum expanded and made available a new resource along the lake for the community to enjoy.
Andrew: My wife and I were married in Windhover Hall, so we have a deeply personal connection with the Museum and many fond memories of that day.
Elisabeth Gasparka is the Development Officer for Membership within the Development Department at the Museum. She crafts Member communications, plans and oversees Member events, and manages relationships with external partners, including through the Neighborhood Discount Program.