The Erie Art Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Susan Barnett as the Museum’s new Curator. The new Curator position was created as part of the succession plan from the leadership of long-serving director, John Vanco. Although he has served for 50 years as Director and Curator, this combination of duties is highly unusual in a mid-sized Museum.
Susan Barnett comes to the Museum from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she has been working as an Independent Curator and Collections Manager. She previously served on the Curatorial Team at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center to research and develop a retrospective exhibition the Arts/Industry Program’s 40 year history, and Co-Author Arts/Industry: Collaboration and Revelation. Barnett also served as Director and Curator of the Cedarburg Cultural Center; interned at the Milwaukee Art Museum; and worked as a writer and nonprofit Board Consultant.
Barnett has an M.A. in Art History from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and a B.A. in Fine Art–Printmaking from Montana State University. Before moving to Wisconsin, she owned and operated a gallery in Butte, Montana, and served as Director and Curator of the Copper Village Museum and Art Center in Anaconda, Montana.
In addition to her professional experience, she is an avocational cellist and has served on the board of nonprofit arts organizations. Barnett looks forward to programming exhibitions in the Museum’s galleries and collaborating with education staff and other regional arts organizations.
Barnett has researched the mutual influence of mainstream contemporary art and the work of regional and self-taught artists. Many of the Erie Art Museum’s collections areas align with Barnett’s areas of expertise, such as photography, printmaking, ceramics, and contemporary craft. “I love the variety of contemporary and historic spaces in this museum,” she wrote. “I am impressed by the quality and breadth of the collection, and by the regional art represented in the Annual Spring Show. I look forward to learning more about these artists and their work.”