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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Announces Vanessa German as the Recipient of the 2018 Don Tyson Prize
December 18, 2018
The Squirrel Gang Has Arrived
December 21, 2018
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Welcoming All to Crystal Bridges: New Podcast Episode!

Museum Way Podcast

Episode 8 of Museum Way is available now!

Read this episode’s transcript

 

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eCommunications Coordinator + IDEA Committee Chair Brittany Johnson

eCommunications Coordinator Brittany Johnson

Brittany is the eCommunications Coordinator on Crystal Bridges’ Communications team! In her role, she handles all of the museum’s email marketing, working within a database that includes memberships, ticket sales, visitor experience, and more. She makes decision about who we email and when we send emails, and she keeps track of our visitor’s email preferences. In addition to her role as eCommunications Coordinator, she is the Co-Chair of the museum’s IDEA committee, which addresses inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. Our IDEA committee focuses on each of these four pillars in terms of internal staff relations, hiring practices, and making the museum a great place to work. On this episode, Brittany will share all about the committee and its goals within the museum.

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Senior Content Specialist Rachel Tucker

Senior Content Specialist Rachel Tucker

Rachel is the Senior Content Specialist on the museum’s Communications team. She handles all of the museum’s social media accounts, oversees the museum blog, produces the Museum Way podcast, and works with Crystal Bridges’ videographer on video content and sharing.

Follow along with Crystal Bridges’ social media to stay up-to-date with the museum! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and share your museum visit with #CrystalBridges!

 

 

 

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Other Museum Way episodes include a conversation on artwork installation, a chat with our Eleven restaurant chef, a look into museum virtual reality, and more. Subscribe to the podcast to be notified whenever we post a new episode—more exciting episodes are coming soon!

Museum Way Host Stace Treat

 

Crystal Bridges Interpretation Manager Stace Treat is the host of Museum Way. New episodes of the podcast are launched each month! Subscribe to be the first to listen, and head over to our social media channels to let us know what you’d like to hear on future episodes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Episode Transcript

Stace Treat:
Welcome to Museum Way, the podcast of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. We’re sharing all the ins and outs of the museum from the galleries to the trails, the architecture, and more. You’ll learn the museum way of Crystal Bridges.

Stace Treat:
This month we’re celebrating the museum’s seventh anniversary. Since we opened our doors on November the 11 of 2011, we’ve welcomed over four million visitors from around the world to experience the art, architecture and nature that Crystal Bridges has to offer.

Stace Treat:
On today’s episode, we’re talking about our museum mission, which is, “to welcome all”. We’ll talk with Brittany Johnson, the Co-chair of our museum’s IDEA committee, which addresses inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. Then we’ll talk with Rachel Tucker, Senior Content Specialist and Producer of Museum Way, to share how we reach visitors across our social media channels and other outreach options.

Stace Treat:
So let’s jump into this episode of Museum Way. We’re here with Brittany Johnson, our eCommunications Coordinator and Co-chair of the museum’s IDEA committee. Welcome Brittany.

Brittany Johnson:
Hi.

Stace Treat:
It’s great to have you.

Brittany Johnson:
Thank you.

Stace Treat:
So we’re going to get to the IDEA committee bit in a minute. First of all, can you tell us a little bit about what your role as eCommunications Coordinator is with the museum?

Brittany Johnson:
Sure. So in my role, I’m a part of the communications team at the museum and I work specifically in PR and that’s with a smaller team of maybe four or five other people. So in eCommunications, I handle all of our email marketing and I work with our database called, “Tessitura,” which handles memberships, it handles ticket sales, it handles any kind of guest or visitor experience or interaction. I have access to a lot of that information that I pull when I used to make decisions about who we email and when we email them, and how, and how frequently and keep track of their preferences so that we’re not reaching out to them too frequently or too infrequently.

Stace Treat:
Right. So if somebody has a particular interest in a program, say like ArtInfusion, or maybe they just want to know about the preschool play dates or some of the family programming, you can actually filter the emails that are sent out by those kinds of preferences, right?

Brittany Johnson:
Exactly. Sometimes people will say, “I want information about both of those things.” We have to make the tough decision to say, “Well, do we email them three or four times about an art and fusion event, or preschool play date, or a performance or anything going on at the museum?” How do we package the information so that it’s exactly what a person wants and exactly when they want it or when it’s necessary for them to get it to make a decision to come out to the museum or renew a membership or just continue to be engaged with the museum as a whole.

Stace Treat:
All right. Well, that sounds like a lot to do and that you probably play with a lot of data.

Brittany Johnson:
I do.

Stace Treat:
What we’re going to talk about today primarily is your role as the co-chair of the museum’s IDEA committee. Of course, why don’t we start by you telling us what that IDEA stands for?

Brittany Johnson:
Sure. So IDEA is the acronym that we use in the museum. It’s frequently referred to as Diversity and Inclusion or D&I, but IDEA stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access. Each of those four pillars are what the IDEA committee is working on in terms of internal staff relations, in terms of hiring practices and just in terms of making the museum a great place to work.

Stace Treat:
Right. I should, in all fairness, mention that I’m the other co-chair of the IDEA committee and that we work together quite a lot on these initiatives. Why don’t you talk a little bit about how this committee got started?

Brittany Johnson:
Sure. So maybe a year or two ago, there was this board initiative that we as a museum really commit to becoming a more diverse and equitable institution. So it was handed down from the board to our Executive Director, Rod, who also now is not just the Executive Director, but also the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer… That’s a mouthful. So basically from that, two people, Raven Cook and Alyssa Wilson were nominated or I don’t want to say tasked, but they were nominated with this idea to create a committee that would involve staff members from all across the museum, from communications, and exhibitions, and protection services, just from all across the board who would really come together and meet and work on issues surrounding inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.

Brittany Johnson:
So with that, it’s been maybe, it’s been almost two years, I think that they’ve, that we’ve I should say, been really working to get the ball rolling and we’ve made some progress that I’m really proud of and we aren’t slowing down. So super exciting.

Stace Treat:
Yeah, I was a part of the original committee and I think you came pretty much six months after it started. So you’ve been with the committee for over a year now. Why don’t you talk a little bit about what we try to do or what our role is in relation to Rod Bigelow, our Executive Director and the Chief Diversity Inclusion Officer.

Brittany Johnson:
As his co-chairs or the committee?

Stace Treat:
All of it.

Brittany Johnson:
Okay. We as a team come together and we bring each of our diverse perspectives about what’s going on in the museum and what we need and we meet twice a month. Sometimes we have very specific things that we need to talk about and sometimes it’s a little bit more general, a little bit more broad. Then we get the ball rolling on different initiatives, and we report back to Rod, who can give us the support from the leadership perspective, who can help us obtain assets that we might not have individually. Really just keep him in the loop in terms of what we’re doing, the work that we’re doing, the roadblocks that we’re facing or the progress that we’re making.

Brittany Johnson:
So a really great example of that I think would be, last summer the IDEA committee spearheaded with the help of our Rainbow Bridges, our resource group for LGBTQIA staff members decided to participate in the Pride Parade and they organized it on their own, but Rod was looped in and made aware of the things that the committee needed, support that they needed, people that they needed access to potentially, and the resources. We were able to have, I think flowers and cards that they donated?

Stace Treat:
Yes, we had donations. Yeah.

Brittany Johnson:
We had a banner created, all of these little things that made it a really great experience, especially for it being our first time. So now next summer we know what we can work with and how we want to take it bigger and better. So little things like that that he’s really instrumental in helping us move forward. Then also it’s content full of information. So he’s helping us to create policy and strategy, and we have some mandates or some things that, I don’t want to say mandates, but some things that he really wants to see in the near future that we’re taking into consideration as well.

Stace Treat:
So it’s interesting, one of the reasons that this committee is formed of employees and it’s employees from across the museum at different levels of leadership, I guess you could say. Part of that was he was wanting to understand what the staff needs in terms of diversity inclusion and let us sort of help to advise the leadership team as to what are some of the more important fundamentals. One of the first things that we advocated for was a professional outside directed cultural assessment of our organization that we could survey the whole staff and get a bit of a measurement, if you will, of where we were at. Can you talk a little bit about that assessment that was done earlier this year?

Brittany Johnson:
Sure. So we brought in and Cranford Associates who are based in the DC area and they did at different levels, they conducted a survey of all staff, focus groups with some key members of staff, and then they did some observation on their own and they gave us this really tight, really succinct report that has everything that they observed, things that they heard and some suggestions for how we move forward as a staff. That was done maybe in June or July I think.

Brittany Johnson:
Then they came back after the initial reporting had been done and they did a series of trainings for the IDEA committee but also for leadership. So over the course of two days, the IDEA committee really hunkered down and talked about what the results of the survey found, what the results of the focus groups were and then what the committee felt and not the committee, I’m sorry, what the consultants felt really were important in order for Crystal Bridges to just move forward in this work.

Stace Treat:
Right. One of the things that I’ve found pretty striking about that is that we have begun in instituting some of those suggestions and changes slowly but certainly furtively I would say. So another thing that the IDEA committee does that I think is really exciting is that we’ve formed what are called resource groups. These are groups of like-minded or like identified people in the museum that are often times understood as a minority communities, or those on the edge or fringes of the dominant culture.

Stace Treat:
So we have several and certainly some of them are very specific in their interest and in the experiences they face. Can you tell us a little bit about the groups that we have formed there?

Brittany Johnson:
Sure. So we have several groups like you mentioned that are in various stages of forming. Our oldest or most seniored resource group is SOMOS and they are a Latinx or Latin-equis, whichever you prefer, resource group that works specifically on Hispanic staff issues, whatever they might be. They meet once a month to talk through things and get together. They formed right after informally at first right after our Border Cantos exhibition. They’ve been around for a while and they’re doing some really great stuff and they have served as a really good source of inspiration for some of the newer resource groups that are forming. We have Rainbow Bridges, which is an LGBTQIA resource group.

Stace Treat:
That group actually is one that I’m personally a part of and was formed largely to organize the Pride Parade events last year.

Brittany Johnson:
We have a veteran’s resource group, a resource group for staff members who are 55 and up. We have a Native American resource group which also formed very, very recently in response or in the lead up to our current exhibition Art for New Understanding. I’m actually in the process of trying to really nail down our African-American resource group and organize us in a way that makes sense. So as you can probably tell, a lot of these groups form as a result of some action taking place inside the museum, which is great. All of the resource groups are organic. Anyone can form a resource group wherever they see a need. There’s no cap or there’s no limit. Anybody who has an idea is more than welcome to shout it out and IDEA will support them and give them the assistance that they need.

Stace Treat:
Right. Another big part of the resource groups is to function as an educational resource for the staff. So for example, our Indigenous group that you mentioned a minute ago did a series of panels that were for the staff and volunteers where there were five members that sat and talked about a lot of issues that are important to their communities, their nations, their tribes as well as give a little context for where a lot of the artists that are featured in the exhibition are coming from and responding to.

Stace Treat:
What I love about it is that each one of those sessions, we had four of them, they were packed to the gills with people from our staff and our volunteers. So, there is a real thirst and a real interest in learning more about IDEA topics. So that’s something that we’re going to be doing as we move forward. What are some other things that are coming next for the IDEA committee?

Brittany Johnson:
So we are for one, we, just to piggyback on what you said, we are really looking forward to opportunities to connect with staff more frequently. The panel was a great example of staff engagement and this desire to do more and connect more and have opportunities to just learn about one another. We’ve done a little bit of informal polling about who went and what they learned and how they enjoyed it and everyone who responded at least said that they really appreciated the opportunity to get to know their staff members, especially people who they might not work so closely with on a daily basis. So definitely excited about that. We are always looking forward to, or always looking for opportunities to serve our community and to build those bridges between the museum and the community in which we live and work.

Brittany Johnson:
That isn’t just Bentonville, but definitely all of Northwest Arkansas. As the museum continues to push boundaries and look for opportunities to reach the public outside of the area, in the communications team, we look at a wide radius for as far as Dallas to maybe St. Louis.

Stace Treat:
It can be regional.

Brittany Johnson:
It’s truly a regional effort and we want to be sure to include those communities of people. A great example again is the panels and this exhibition in particular and how we are keeping our neighbors in Oklahoma, the Native American communities there at the forefront and just keeping them in mind whenever we do things. We have completed a strategic plan that was something that was actually suggested through the Cranford study. We are done with that and we’re really excited about it and it has some very specific language about things that we want to accomplish by the end of 2019. So we’re looking forward to putting some of those things into practice. A lot of them are what I just mentioned, but we do have some big goals that we want to tackle.

Stace Treat:
All right. Okay Brittany, who all is on the committee? Who comprises that, I guess you could say?

Brittany Johnson:
We started with a very formal structure where we tried to have at least one representative from every team and they had these terms and they had like a time limit for rotation. Then we realized that people who were really interested in this could be from anywhere and could serve at any time.

Brittany Johnson:
One of the things about being on the IDEA committee is that it’s an additional project in terms of the work that you’re doing. So we have committee members who will attend meetings very frequently and then when they have a work project come up, they can’t come for a couple of meetings and that’s fine. We understand that. So we decided that the best thing to do would be to open it up to anyone who was interested so that everyone could feel free to participate, everyone could learn from one another, everyone could be a part of shaping this committee. Because at the end of the day, we do want it to be a resource for staff. In order to do that, we need to have participation from everyone who wants to provide input.

Stace Treat:
Right, and actually this idea of diversity and inclusion in the museum field has been very important and very hot. That’s a huge topic nationwide if not globally. I think part of what Rod’s vision is for the committee and for Crystal Bridges is to try to be a leader in this work. The way that we begin being a more inclusive museum to our visitors, the way that we begin to welcome all as it were is to internally reflect the communities that we’re serving.

Stace Treat:
The hiring, there’ve been some policies put in place in terms of trying to recruit more diverse staff members from a variety of places at all levels. So that would be one visible sign of trying to increase these issues of diversity and inclusion.

Brittany Johnson:
Yeah.

Stace Treat:
Well, Brittany Johnson, it has been a pleasure talking with you today on Museum Way.

Brittany Johnson:
Thank you so much for having me.

Stace Treat:
Yeah. Come back again and give us an update next year on where we’ve headed. It’s the season of giving and we hope this holiday season you’ll give the gift of membership. Members enjoy free admission to temporary exhibitions, discounts on programs and much more all while becoming part of a vibrant community, supporting the region’s leading cultural institution. Share your museum with the ones you love. More info at crystalbridges.org.

Stace Treat:
We’re here with senior content specialist, Rachel Tucker. Rachel, thanks for being here.

Rachel Tucker:
Thanks. I’m so excited to be here.

Stace Treat:
It’s funny because you’re actually here every time we do this, you actually are the producer of Museum Way.

Rachel Tucker:
I am. So it’s exciting to be on the other side here.

Stace Treat:
Yeah, a little strange, huh?

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah, it is very strange but exciting. I’m usually in the background calling like, “cut” or “edit” or things like that. So-

Stace Treat:
That’s right. You literally do cut and edit this podcast when we’re done. Let’s talk about your role. This term or title, “Senior Content Specialist,” what does that mean? What do you do?

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah. So I am on our communications team and more specifically on our public relations team. So I work with Brittany who was just on the podcast on the segment before us. So what I do is really look at all of our channels and all of the content that we’re putting out across our channels, specifically digital channels and see how we can be strategic about that, how we can share this message of welcoming all and that art is for everyone, and the community engagement with the museum and how we can share that across channels in a way that, that reaches the most people and reaches the people that we want to reach. So specifically I work on all of our social media channels. I oversee all of those. So anytime-

Stace Treat:
I was going to ask you, what do you mean by channels? Is that MTV or?

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah, channels. So platforms, channels, people call them different things. So, the ones I work on are all of our social media platforms. Anytime you see a Facebook post or an Instagram post, that’s coming through me. I also oversee our blog channel. Our blog that’s on our website, I oversee all the posting for that, getting people together to write posts, making sure it looks cohesive. Then I also oversee this podcast like we just talked about. So working really closely with you to get the themes for the month, and what we’re going to talk about, and the people that we’re going to have on and doing run throughs and writing scripts and things like that. I also work really closely with our videographer. So we do-

Stace Treat:
Tiago.

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah, Tiago, he’s great and we work closely on videos that we’re going to create, editing those, where we should share them. So it’s a lot of sharing and just making sure we’re being strategic and that we’re reaching as many people as we can in the best way possible.

Stace Treat:
So handling all the social media channels. Wow. That is a job because it seems like they’re changing all the time.

Rachel Tucker:
Oh, they are. Yeah.

Stace Treat:
Like there are new apps that come up where there’ll be audiences that shift like, “Oh, I’m done with Facebook. I’m just doing Instagram or blah, blah, blah.” How do you track all of that? How do you think about all of that strategically?

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah, that’s a great question. The thing about social media that I find really interesting and an exciting part of the job is the changing all the time and the spontaneity of it. Everyone is on social media. Everyone does their own personal social media. A lot of times when you say, “Oh, I work in social media,” it’s like, “Oh, you’re tweeting all day or just run down and take a picture and post it.” It is. I am tweeting all day, but it’s also a very strategic, it’s a marketing job and a marketing channel.

Rachel Tucker:
We have a lot of insights and statistics on who is following us. I know the age groups that are following us on Facebook and the age groups that are following us on Instagram and what time they’re on. I know like 9 p.m. is a top Instagram time for us. We do big reports where we track all of those numbers and who’s following us. It’s exciting to really be the voice of Crystal Bridges in our team and forming that voice and thinking about how we want it to sound and the messages we want to come across.

Rachel Tucker:
So we have a little bit of a different voice for each channel, but overall we want to have a voice of our mission is to welcome all. So we want to be welcoming. We want to be fun. We want to be engaging. We have to be educational, but we want to have that and do that in a way that is for people everyone can understand. A lot of our voice is defined by who we’re not. We’re not critical. We’re not condescending. We’re not difficult to understand in that sense that I think a lot of people think an art museum or an institutional, a cultural institution might be just a little too difficult or using these really big terms.

Rachel Tucker:
That makes people feel like this place isn’t for them if they can’t understand it. So our voice really wants to be welcoming and engaging and incorporate the community and let people know that this is your museum and they have a say and they have a perspective and a voice. So we share a lot of guest photos, we share a lot of guest interaction and it’s a really fun and exciting way to bring people into the museum.

Stace Treat:
Yeah. I would say that you also in doing so, like we explore a little bit of different languages, so Spanish language, Marshallese we’ve been actually experimenting with incorporating those to help reach out and welcome those communities that may not have participated as much in the past due to language barrier or what have you.

Rachel Tucker:
That’s something we’re always keeping in mind. How can we be the most accessible to all of these different groups and different languages. Should we create a Facebook event that’s all in Spanish if it’s a Spanish language program and we have program guides that go out for each program that we have that are in multiple languages? How can we create that content? Like we said earlier, to reach the people that we need to reach and to make ourselves accessible.

Stace Treat:
I’m just sitting here thinking as you’re talking, that you’re a front lines person and that when you post things, people comment on them.

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah.

Stace Treat:
I’m sure you get quite a range of interesting comments or responses to some of our either programs or exhibitions or any number of things that are coming from Crystal Bridges into the community. Can you give me a couple of really interesting examples of strange or interesting stories?

Rachel Tucker:
Stories, yeah. It’s very true. One of the things that I love the most about my job is that I’m interacting with our visitors and our guests or our followers directly. I can message them on Facebook. I can like their photo. One of the things I do every morning when I come in is go on Instagram and check our location tag because not everyone always knows we have an Instagram. So they might not always tag the museum, but they’ll say they were at Crystal Bridges and I can look at that and go see their photos.

Rachel Tucker:
It’s so exciting to see the different ways people have interacted with the museum. Some of my favorite photos are pet photos.

Stace Treat:
Oh, really?

Rachel Tucker:
So on our trails, a lot of people bring their dogs. We have the 12-foot tall deer sculpture in our North forest and one of my favorite photos ever is someone brought their little corgi dog and it’s standing underneath the deer and they look like best friends and it’s this huge deer and this little corgi. It’s really fun. We also see a lot of engagements, a lot of life events, weddings, things like that.

Rachel Tucker:
The other day, someone out on our South Lawn near the love sculpture set up this whole trail for their partner to walk down and it had different dates of how they met and where they went on their first date and big life events for them. It ended up the love sculpture and it was a proposal and it said-

Stace Treat:
Oh, how romantic?

Rachel Tucker:
… “Now, our first date at Crystal Bridges.” It was just so cute. These are the things that I get to see every day and I get to share out with our team and see the impact we’re having on the community. One of my favorite stories ever is we had a woman post an Instagram photo and it was a woman in front of Rosie the Riveter and she had her newborn baby with her. The caption was all about how her daughter was named Rosie. She had named her that after Rosie the Riveter and they lived in Bentonville, and she was going to bring her to the museum all through her life and show her her namesake and this strong woman figure that was on the walls and in the museum in their backyard.

Rachel Tucker:
It was so moving and touching to see that we sit in these offices upstairs and you can just sit at your computer all day and forget that there’s this beautiful museum of world-class artwork right below you that’s affecting the community in these beautiful ways. So my job getting to see that every day and interact and comment is such an exciting thing. I’m so grateful to have that opportunity.

Stace Treat:
It’s fun for me to sit here and listen to this because a part of what I do of course at the museum is the behind the scenes stuff where I’m actually creating some content or creating things or helping to position the art in certain ways with the curators and educators. I don’t always get that direct feedback like what you’re doing. I’m loving hearing these stories. We do take for granted to that, that we do work in a place where people’s lives are really enriched and some changed.

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah. With any job, you can get bogged down by the day to day, and the constant work you’re doing and forget the way that it’s impacting all the people around you. That’s the beauty of Crystal Bridges is we can see how it’s affecting the community and how it’s changing lives and all the students that get to come through and the stories they’re going to tell growing up, it’s a really incredible thing.

Stace Treat:
We shouldn’t be too Pollyanna about it. We get some negative feedback too, right?

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah. So that’s the nature of social media. Any public platform, there’s going to be people voicing their opinion. So there’s going to be some negative comments. The thing with that and the great thing about the way the community has embraced Crystal Bridges is that the positive vastly outweighs the negative. There’s very rarely anytime we have to go on and defend the museum ourselves, or defend the artwork that’s being shown because the community comes in and has a debate or has a conversation.

Rachel Tucker:
On the other hand, that’s what we’re here for. I think as an institution, that’s our duty is to spark these conversations and spark this dialogue and these debates. If someone disagrees with an artwork or doesn’t understand it or says it’s not for them, we’re not going to delete a negative comment because we want that conversation. We want someone to come in and say, “Well, I see what you’re saying, but here’s why this artwork means something to me.”

Rachel Tucker:
A great example of this is the Félix González-Torres “Untitled” (L.A.). The candy spread.

Stace Treat:
Yes, the famous candy spill as they say.

Rachel Tucker:
Yes, the famous candy spread. At first, people didn’t fully understand, and there was a lot of negativity when we first announced that piece. As soon as we started telling the story of what it means and what the artist was thinking behind it, and as soon as people started commenting about how it affected them when they first saw it, and when they actually saw it in person and those debates were happening, then a lot of the negative opinions changed into, “Oh, I didn’t realize that that’s what this means.” That’s the story behind this. That’s what we’re here to do, and the fact that social media can foster that conversation is such an important thing.

Stace Treat:
Yeah, that’s a really great example. We continue to have those because part of the role of art in society is to question, to challenge, to uplift, to hold a mirror up to society at large. That’s certainly something that we try to do. We honor that position, certainly. It’s also written into our mission that we welcome all. It actually can be a very challenging thing at times. So what do you think have been some of the most successful social media campaigns or projects that you’ve worked on?

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah, that’s a great question. One of my favorite campaigns, and I think I mentioned before, we like to position the museum as your museum. So when we’re talking, we say, “Share your museum with the community or come visit your museum and see what’s happening here.” When we had our Chihuly exhibition, we had this incredible opportunity to acquire an artwork and we were tasked with the challenge of having the community pick which artwork we were going to acquire.

Rachel Tucker:
It falls right in line with our mission of welcoming all and being accessible to all and having the community have a voice. So we thought, “What’s the best way we can do this? How can we reach everyone?” Social media was the perfect avenue for this. So we created a campaign and we had a hashtag and it was “Choose your Chihuly.” We had people vote for their favorite artwork. We had staff members who were advocates for different artwork. You are one for the chandelier.

Stace Treat:
The chandelier, which by the way I will say is the one that’s still there.

Rachel Tucker:
Yes it is and it’s beautiful. We all love that one. So we got to really have our guests have a say and they were tagging friends and telling people when they liked the photo it counted as a vote. They were tagging their friends and saying, “Like this photo, we want this artwork.” That’s not something you see very often that a museum allows the community to pick an artwork that’s going to be in their collection or have a say in that. That’s really telling of what our institution is as a whole and what Crystal Bridges is trying to do is welcome all and have all these voices.

Rachel Tucker:
I think it’s incredible that we can really show people how they do have a say in art, how art is imitating life and art is in everything that we do. Maybe someone thinks that museum or a museum in general is not for me, but then they get to really have a say in what artwork is staying, or just they could think, it means something to them. They could think it’s just pretty. They could think it was just something that-

Stace Treat:
They could hate it.

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah, they could hate it. They could and that’s a valid-

Stace Treat:
Some do.

Rachel Tucker:
… a valid opinion too. They have the chance to have these opinions and to voice these opinions on our channels. That’s what we want our channels to be is a place for the community to say what they’re feeling, and say what they think, and see how they can have a say in the art world. That at times has seemed so inaccessible to so many people.

Stace Treat:
Right. It’s a great mission and we love it. We embrace it. So let’s talk about what you do with say our special exhibitions. I want to talk in particular about the one that’s coming up that opens in February, in February 9 called Men of Steel, Women of Wonder. This is an exhibition of course I’m personally working on, but it deals with how the artists from the so-called fine arts world, if you will, the art world at large uses the characters of Superman and Wonder Woman to make statements commentary or think about our cultural moment or social justice issues or other kinds of things pertinent to American identity, I guess you could say.

Stace Treat:
So, one of the things we realized was that since we’re actually sort of dabbling in both the art world and the pop culture realm, the comic book world in a way, that we had this really interesting opportunity to perhaps do some new things. So we came to you.

Rachel Tucker:
Yes.

Stace Treat:
We came to you because we thought social media would be a really great tool or I should say a toolbox, since there are many ways to think about it, for reaching different audiences in different ways. Let’s talk a little bit about some of those ideas.

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah. So this type of exhibition is from a social media standpoint, really exciting for me because I know that this is a pop culture phenomenon right now and always has been. Everyone has an idea of who Superman is to them or what Wonder Woman means to them. So being able to reach people at a point where they already have an idea and they’re familiar with this concept, especially for social media and especially considering all the movies that are out now and the way it’s infused in our culture of the superhero and all these ideas. It’s exciting to take that into social media and find the art connections there and the way that we’re doing with the exhibition. Part of my job is to sit and think, “How can we reach people where they are? How can we bring them into the museum and show them that there’s something for them here?”

Rachel Tucker:
So with Men of Steel, Women of Wonder, we’re talking about how can we engage people who maybe are comic book artists themselves or have their own drawings of Superman or Wonder Woman. So we’re talking about having-

Stace Treat:
Yeah, the comic nerds as I say, because I am one.

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah, and so we’re talking about having like a fan art gallery on our Tumblr page. So that’s a channel we use sometimes. So people will be able to draw their own comic book strip and upload it there and it’ll be on our Tumblr page. We’re talking about having a social media interactive where people could maybe we ask the question of how would Superman or Wonder Woman respond to what is happening today? They could draw their own comic and then we could have our guests vote or our followers vote on what their favorite comic strip of the week was.

Rachel Tucker:
We can share that out. Can we get people to dress up a Superman and Wonder Woman and come through the galleries and take photos and hashtag and can we have some-

Stace Treat:
Cosplay is what we call that in the industry.

Rachel Tucker:
Cosplay, yeah or Comic Con coming at Crystal Bridges. So how can we have like a Snapchat filter or Instagram filter? These are all ways to engage people and to show them that the art or the entertainment that you’re experiencing in everyday life or the movie you’re going to see is also being addressed in the art world. It’s all about perspective and how people are seeing things in different ways.

Rachel Tucker:
If we can get these people who have an idea in their mind already of Superman and Wonder Woman and then come see what other people are thinking about it and maybe come away with a new perspective and a photo that you can post on Instagram of the exhibition and something new you’ve seen.

Stace Treat:
So I guess probably as a parting question for you, I should say, what are the main hashtags?

Rachel Tucker:
What are hashtags?

Stace Treat:
That you all use.

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah, great question. The one you’re probably most aware of is just #CrystalBridges. So anytime you want to come share a photo or tweet or anything like that, #CrystalBridges is one we’re always watching. Then we have a lot of CB hashtags. So that’s our shortened acronym for the museum. So we have #CBArchitecture, which are ones of the building. We have #CBTrails, which are when people are out on our trails and grounds. #CBEleven is our restaurant. We have so much going on, our architecture nature and so lots of different hashtags for that and they’re all on our pages that you can follow along with.

Stace Treat:
Well, hashtag thanks Rachel.

Rachel Tucker:
Thanks for having me.

Stace Treat:
Thanks so much for being on. It’s so fun to have you on this side of the booth.

Rachel Tucker:
Yeah, it’s been really fun.

Stace Treat:
Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now is now on view at Crystal Bridges. Discover new stories as today’s Indigenous artists fill the gallery with exquisite colors, images of community and joy and thought provoking moments of reflection. The exhibition features over 80 artworks from the 1950s to today, including paintings, photography, video, sculptures, performance art and more, all created by Indigenous US and Canadian artists.

Stace Treat:
There is no fee to visit the exhibition. Admission is sponsored by the Christy and John Mack Foundation, tickets available now. Thanks for tuning in to Museum Way. We hope you enjoyed the episode and tune in each month to hear more. Head over to our social media channels and leave a question or comment about what you’d like to hear on future episodes. I’m Stace Treat and I’ll catch you next month right here on Museum Way.

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