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Introducing Liz Siegel: New chief curator for the Milwaukee Art Museum

Aliza Baran

Milwaukee Magazine
Liz Siegel is the new chief curator for the Milwaukee Art Museum.

The Milwaukee Art Museum is undoubtedly a symbol of the city, and now this historic institution has a new person at the helm of its exhibitions. Liz Siegel joins the Milwaukee Art Museum as chief curator after working for over 25 years at the Art Institute of Chicago. She will lead the museum's curation of new exhibits and what it shares from its permanent collection and work to engage the community through its art.

Siegel wasn't looking for a new job when she stumbled across the opening at the Milwaukee Art Museum. But, the opportunity was too compelling to pass up.

"It's a gorgeous building. It's an incredible collection. I didn't know then what I know now that the staff is amazing. The community is terrific, and the chance to be part of this museum at this really exciting time when everybody is coming back in-person...was just a really exciting opportunity," she explains.

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Now that she's arrived, Siegel has developed an even deeper appreciation for the collection of art. "I don't think I quite realized how astonishing the Bradley collection is," says Siegel. "She was so generous with it to give it to the museum and leave that legacy. So that's one of the first things that you notice when you come into the museum."

While she's still learning space, Siegel is contemplating her aspirations for the museum as one of its primary leaders.
"[We want to] activate the permanent collection and make it an exciting, dynamic place to visit itself, calling attention to the art as well as to the building," she says.

Siegel explains how the museum's strategic direction is to make it relevant for the community.

As the community and world continue to navigate the post-pandemic environment, Siegel is excited at the opportunities the museum has to serve the city.

"The museum does something that we can't do virtually. It facilitates in-person contact between you and a work of art, an in-person experience. And that's what I think the museum's special sauce is — a way to create an experience that will make you think and make you feel," she says.


Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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