Name: Sherry Cromwell-Lacy
KCJMCA Title: Board Director
Years on KCJMCA Board: 4 years
I honestly have no memory of life without the visual arts, I didn’t learn about it, I just lived with it. My mother was a graphic designer and illustrator; there were always art supplies around, books about artists, even a series from the Metropolitan Museum that came quarterly with sheets of colored reproductions that Mother let me clip and paste in the pamphlets, I thought everyone had paintings and books in their homes. Very naturally, I found my way to the Kansas City Art Institute. First as a student, then as an art history assistant, as part-time director of the Institute’s gallery in the River Quay during the late ‘60’s – early ‘70’s. In 1972 I became the Director of Exhibitions, and Visiting Artist Program Coordinator at KCAI, culminating with the opening of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in 1994. The Kemper Museum was a five year project, that for me, as Museum Task Force committee vice chair, was a once in a life-time experience. To that point, I had been closely associated with artists and helping to actualize their projects, but the museum’s administrative responsibilities were quite different and not the direction I wanted for my future, so I returned to making art, with stewardship reserved to selecting projects as an independent curator.
Why are you involved with the Kansas City Jewish Museum of Contemporary Art?
I’ve been on the board four years. I am interested in the concept of art projects organized and sponsored outside a formal institution, although the acknowledgement of an umbrella organization is important. I was a member of The Contemporary Art Society at its beginning, as well as a member of the Chagall Society, and participated in Museum Without Walls programs that sought to make possible alternative art projects in the greater community (one of my interests). When asked to become a member of the KCJMCA board and to especially be part of the exhibition committee I accepted because Epsten Gallery exhibitions were superior in their range of media, thematic focus, represented artists, and curatorial acumen, consequently I was delighted to be part of such an endeavor of often intellectually challenging programs.
What are you favorite events and/or programs that KCJMCA offers? Why?
The regular calendar of exhibitions in the Epsten Gallery, along with didactic material continues to be exceptional. In the past few years, my husband and I have been living outside of the Kansas City area five, or more, months of the year, this has limited some of the opportunities for us to attend a few of the wonderful art tours that I think are very special KCJMCA offerings. Experiencing art with others can enhance one’s own comprehension and appreciation, plus it’s great fun to be with board members, their family and friends.
What are your hopes for the coming year? How do you see KCJMCA serving the greater KC community?
KCJMCA should continue the caliber of exhibitions and programs into next year and beyond, so as to receive greater recognition and financial support from public and private donors. Board members recognize the unique situation of the Epsten Gallery; one hopes the greater Kansas City community will become more acquainted with, and more fully understand how the aesthetic presence of KCJMCA enlightens and enthuses an adult population whose lifestyles have greatly changed, but whose residence is enriched by the Gallery and its programs in their midst.