Erin Fletcher joined the CMA this past spring as director of interpretation, adult programs, and academic engagement. She is responsible for overseeing adult and academic programming, the docent program, and the interpretation team.
Fletcher comes to the CMA from Ohio Wesleyan University, where she served as director of the Richard M. Ross Museum of Art. There, she worked on building connections between the university and the broader community, with a focus on lowering barriers to entry. She is excited to join a public museum where serving a broad audience is embedded in the mission.
“Engaging people through art is a passion for me, and this position is closely aligned with my values,” Fletcher says. With a background that combines socially engaged arts with curatorial and museum-education experience, she has set goals at the CMA that include nurturing programming and supporting exhibition interpretation strategies centered around visitor needs.
Fletcher oversees teams that impact many aspects of the public’s experience with the museum. To best engage with the Cleveland community, she plans to leverage the commonalities between adult and academic programming, the role of docents, and the strength of exhibition interpretation.
“My team members understand that it is important to create experiences for people who love art and that there must also be entry points for people in the community who don’t have an art background,” Fletcher says. “I’m excited about our collective work to build trust and accessible entry points to our exhibitions for everyone who walks through our doors.”
For example, within the adult programs area, lectures and hands-on programs serve different but equally important purposes. Distinguished lectures bring in internationally recognized scholars and serve established audiences, while other programs, such as Artist in the Atrium, help build a bridge between local creatives, the general public, and the CMA. In these ways, the museum serves as a link in both local and global art communities.
Fletcher’s interpretation team works to ensure that all exhibitions reach the broadest possible audience. One way of doing this is through community voice labels, which offer an opportunity for community partners to have their perspectives represented on our walls. In turn, these labels provide another point of connection to the art for first-time visitors. New Narratives: Contemporary Works on Paper, currently on view, features such labels.
Fletcher is grateful that art museums are working to enhance their relevance. “I appreciate the mission of the CMA, which is to serve all the people forever. I was raised by a public-school teacher and a librarian, so I deeply believe in institutions that provide a public service.”