The mission of the Erie Art Museum is to maintain an institution of excellence dedicated to the promotion and advancement of the visual arts by

  • developing and maintaining a quality art collection,
  • encouraging art in all its forms,
  • fostering lifelong art learning, and
  • building community among artists, art students and the public.

Virtual Tour

Erie Insurance Donates $150,000 to Erie Art Museum, Names Education Wing

The Erie Art Museum received $150,000 gift from downtown neighbor, Erie Insurance. The gift was announced on Thursday, September 7th at a press conference in the Museum’s Main Gallery, with Erie Art Museum Board Members and Erie Insurance Executives in attendance. In recognition of the gift, the Museum will rename the education wing, The Erie Insurance Education Wing.

The gift brings momentum and excitement for the future of the Erie Art Museum. Susan Black-Keim, Interim Director said, “What a wonderful way to begin the next phase of EAM’s creative programing and service to our community.  Thank you Erie Insurance for your generosity, your partnership and your support of the EAM’s future success.”

The Erie Art Museum Board of Directors is thrilled that their downtown neighbor is interested in having a future hand in the cultural anchor of our city. Erie Art Museum Board President, Steve Porter said, “Speaking on behalf of the Board and the community we represent, we are grateful for this tangible show of support from Erie Insurance.  Even more important however, the Erie Art Museum and Erie Insurance are more than good neighbors, we are partners – working together to make our neighborhood the cornerstone of a diverse, livable and culturally vibrant urban core of Erie.”

Ann Scott, Manager of Community Outreach at Erie Insurance said, “Erie Insurance is proud to support the ongoing efforts of the Erie Art Museum as they continue to expand their presence in the historic Bonnell Block. We recognize and applaud the Museum’s work in advancing the visual arts through education, performance, and high quality art in all its forms. The Erie Art Museum is a treasure enjoyed by our employees and their families, our neighborhood, and everyone in the community throughout Erie County, Pennsylvania, and the country. We’re pleased to be able to help them continue to be a sustainable asset into the future.”

Erie Insurance has been a longtime supporter of the Erie Art Museum. Over the years, Erie Insurance has supported several Museum initiatives including; The Picture a Place Campaign, the EITC program (Comprehensive School Tour Program), Blues & Jazz Festival, Mid Day Art Break, Second Sundays, ARTrageous, and the Bike Rack program.

The 93rd annual Spring Show is a hectic but wonderful time at the EAM. Just as there is much that goes on behind the scenes to make the Spring Show successful, there is a behind the scenes bustle within the EAM community to prepare our first leadership transition in 50 years.

The Transition Team is currently interviewing candidates for the Executive Director position and planning a number of other activities to make the leadership transition as smooth as possible.

With have engaged a transition consultant to lay the groundwork for a successful transition— including an Organizational Assessment of internal operations, a thorough review of the Museum’s finances and an On-Boarding Plan to help the new Executive Director hit the ground running. We have formed a communications team to ensure we communicate effectively with our supporters and the public as we go through the transition. We have begun a special funding campaign to help support the transition and formed a Campaign Cabinet chaired by Herm Weber with representatives from the Board and public to guide the effort. To date the campaign has been largely internal (among current and former Board members), but you will be hearing more of this effort in the future!

Most importantly, the Erie community has been stepping up to do its part—interest in Museum programs is at an all-time high and support for our annual fund and ArtRageous sponsorships have exceeded expectations. On behalf of the entire Board, the staff and the broader community I want to thank each of our supporters—from our army of volunteers to our major donors—for ensuring that we as a community take responsibility for the future of the Erie Art Museum.

Stephen Porter
Board President

New Curator Hired

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 fifty 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.”

Dear Members and Friends of the Erie Art Museum,
Greetings from your Interim Director Donna Douglass. Former Interim Director Susan Black was contracted to work through December 2017, and as a long-time supporter and former board member of the Museum, I was asked by our Board of Directors to step in until their national search for a new permanent director is complete.

I’m excited to work with our great staff and board. We have lots to do. In the meantime, I encourage you to keep up to speed by checking out ourFacebook pagewebsite and this newsletter. Hope to see you soon here at the Museum.

Donna Douglass
Interim Director