New director for Broad Art Museum excited for new role

EAST LANSING, MI (WILX) - When driving through downtown East Lansing, it is hard to miss this uniquely shaped silver structure on MSU's campus.

"It has been a stable attraction," said Julie Pingston, of the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It definitely attracts that art enthusiast."

But the Broad Museum's newest director wants to expand that interest to the non-art population.

"It's visible and it stands out but it needs a better understanding of the architect behind that building," said Mónica Ramírez-Montagut.

Ramírez-Montagut not only has experience as an architect, but also has worked with the architect who designed the Broad.

"One characteristic to Zaha Hadid buildings is to return the ground floor back to a public space so I hope to dig more into that narrative and hope to convey that to the folks of East Lansing so they can understand the building's shape and form," said Ramírez-Montagut.

Being the 3rd director in 8 years at Broad, Ramírez-Montagut is addressing the challenges contemporary art brings.

"A lot of people are afraid of contemporary art. They walk into a space and not know what that means and it's the responsibility of educational institutions to provide points of access so that new vocabulary for a lot of audiences starts becoming familiar."

And as Ramírez-Montagut brainstorms ways of creating a new educational experience at the Broad, she is now faced with how the art museum will safely do this.

"We will probably all wear masks, there will be a lot of cleaning happening and probably some sort of stations similar to the supermarkets where this is where you should stand, a more guided experience so we can manage the flow of public and maybe audio tours where folks can use their own devices to get information at their own pace. what that means for public programming has yet to be determined."

For now, the museum is still closed.

Ramírez-Montagut says how and when the Broad will reopen will come from the state and MSU.

Ramírez-Montagut will officially begin her new role as director July 1. She hopes to be in East Lansing and able to work in the Broad by late summer.

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