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Meet Our 10-Year’d Staff: Alison Nation

Alison Nation
Photo by Ironside Photography / Stephen Ironside.

In celebration of Crystal Bridges’ 10-year anniversary, we are highlighting museum staff who have been working at Crystal Bridges since the beginning: 10 years or longer! So take a few moments to meet our 10-Year’d (get it? tenured?) staff. In today’s blog, meet Marketing Director Alison Nation who is celebrating 13 years at Crystal Bridges this December. 


Tell us a little about your role. What do you do at Crystal Bridges? 

I’m the Marketing Director, which means that I get to work with our awesome Communications team to promote Crystal Bridges and the Momentary. Specifically, I coordinate the advertising for both locations, all of our exhibitions, and programs.


Have you always been in this role? If not, how has it changed? 

Nope, I haven’t always been in this role. I’ll celebrate my thirteenth year of working at Crystal Bridges this December. I started as an administrative assistant on the Learning & Engagement team for a few years, shifted to support the Exhibition team during our opening, and in 2012 finally moved to the Communications department where I’ve been ever since.

staff member poses on the museum's grounds while its snowing
Alison walks to work on a wintry day at Crystal Bridges.

In your role, can you share with us 1-2 significant changes you’ve seen happen (or been part of) at Crystal Bridges over the last 10 years? 

While the museum has undergone significant growth and change in the last 10 years, for me the two sea-change moments were our first State of the Art exhibition and the opening of the Momentary. State of the Art was an entirely new type of exhibition for us, and we learned so much about contemporary art across the country in that project. Watching the curatorial team’s journey from state to state and artist studio to studio was so fun. Having the exhibition come together in our galleries, along with the lineup of artist talks and Summit – it was an incredibly inspiring time.

Opening the Momentary was (dare I say) a very momentous experience. Learning about the space and building that brand, promoting the opening weekend festival, was a huge undertaking, and vastly rewarding to see come to fruition.

staff member sits at a table in the galleries with her family
Alison shares State of the Art with her family.
staff member poses with two kids in front of the momentary before opening
The Momentary pre-opening!
the niche gallery space

What is something we do at the museum now that we were not doing 10 years ago? 

This is tricky! A lot has changed, but I think one important thing for our guests to know is that a few years back we allocated space in the galleries for museum staff to curate small exhibitions. Located in our Early American Gallery, a committee of staffers from across the museum plan and execute what’s on view in the Niche. It’s a fun way for staff to explore ideas in our gallery space.

What has kept you here? 

The mission of Crystal Bridges, transforming lives through art, is so important to me, and being in the comm team I get to see and hear about our impact all the time!


What has been the most exciting artwork you’ve seen at the museum, either in the collection or in an exhibition? Most exciting moment? 

I love the experiential, meditative installations we have on view, so Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room―My Heart is Dancing into the Universe is really exciting to me. I think the most exciting moment for me was the first time I experienced the sunset from James Turrell’s Skyspace: The Way of Color, located on our Art Trail. It was during staff previews before the museum opened, and I think that was the moment I truly grasped the enormity of what we were doing.

staff member sits in skyspace with baby in her lap

How have you grown over the last 10 years, either as a person or in your professional capacity? 

Professionally, I certainly know MUCH more about digital marketing, budgeting, and project management than I knew 10 years ago. Personally, I think I’m more empathetic, and I’ve increased my capacity to multitask, but maybe that’s from being a mom 🙂


If you could go back 10 years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would you say? 

When you’re struggling or stressed, first ask yourself why, and then ask for help! Being mindful and accepting support from others will be instrumental to your long-term success and happiness. 


What do you think Crystal Bridges will be like 10 years from now? 

Even bigger and better, the expansion of the museum and the projects currently under construction on our grounds are going to transform Crystal Bridges in ways I can’t even imagine! But one thing I know for sure based on my time here: the results will be AMAZING.

staff member and family