Erie Art Museum Announces New Curator

The Erie Art Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Susan Barnett as the Museum’s new curator. This new position was created as part of the transition 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 today. Susan Barnett comes 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 MA in art history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a BA 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. “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.”

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.

About the Erie Art Museum

The Erie Art Museum anchors downtown Erie’s cultural and economic revitalization, occupying a group of restored mid-19th century commercial buildings tied together by a modern, ‘green,’ 10,500 square foot expansion.  The new facility was the first LEED Gold certified building in Northwest Pennsylvania.

The Museum maintains an ambitious program of changing exhibitions annually, embracing a wide range of subjects, both historical and contemporary and including folk art, contemporary craft, multi-disciplinary installations, community-based work, as well as traditional media.

The Erie Art Museum also holds a collection of over 8,000 objects, which includes significant works in American ceramics, Tibetan painting, Indian bronzes, contemporary baskets, and a variety of other categories.

The Museum offers a wide range of education programs and artists’ services including interdisciplinary and interactive school tours and a wide variety of classes for the community.  Performing arts are showcased in the popular summer program, Mid Day Art Break, which presents a wide range of regional performers, and the popular annual two-day Erie Art Museum Blues & Jazz Festival, which presents outstanding national and international artists.

The Erie Art Museum and gift shop is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Hours for the Museum’s Wave Café are 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. For additional visitor information, visit online at  or call 814-459-5477.

%d bloggers like this: