For Students

Joseph Rosa, Director

From the Director

Ann Arbor consistently ranks as one of the most livable and vibrant cities in the country and now I understand why. From its natural attractions and gastronomic culture to the wealth of standout arts programming, this is an active community of creative thinkers, achievers, and enthusiasts. UMMA plays an important role in this cultural ecology, bringing various groups and concerns together to foster some of the most advanced thinking about how we can and should live our life as global citizens in the 21st century and how the arts shape and mirror our shared experiences.

One of the ways the Museum of Art reflects this idea is through the installation of the art in our collections galleries. Enlivening historic works of art through the infusion of contemporary lines of thinking—and occasionally contemporary objects!—contextualize and bring the past to life. Relating artistic practices to other, sometimes unexpected, disciplines is another way—something UMMA has had great success with over the years and which will increase as our ties to campus scholars and collaborators strengthen and deepen.

Stretching ourselves to become more of a participatory platform, an engine of engagement with our various audiences, is an idea gaining wide currency with museums nationwide and one that I believe UMMA, with its legacy of offering, through its lively exhibitions and programs, multiple points of entry and broad interpretation is expertly positioned. The Museum of Art and the UM Museum Studies Program recently hosted Nina Simon, author of The Participatory Museum and Museum 2.0 blog, who compelled many of us to begin thinking again about how to use the Museum in new ways and how to tell the most compelling stories.

Part of this critical initiative to embrace and invite our audiences, both onsite and online, to develop a meaningful affiliation with and affinity for this institution and what it can deliver will be a new strategic planning process, which the Museum will embark on shortly. I’m looking forward to giving voice to many of these ideas before us and to collectively and strategically making the best decisions about what this institution can be in the next five to ten years and beyond.

On the exhibitions front this season, I’m particularly excited about the mid-career survey of the profound and provocative work of rising contemporary Swiss artist Mai-Thu Perret. This comprehensive overview, curated and organized by the Museum, includes many works never exhibited before in North America and brand new work created specifically for UMMA.

I hope you can take advantage of many of the wonderful opportunities and events taking place this fall and winter, and I look forward to seeing you at the Museum soon.

Warmest regards,

Joseph Rosa