Ulrich director candidate visits campus



Leslie Brothers is a candidate for director of the Ulrich Museum of Art.

Leslie Brothers, a candidate for director of the Ulrich Museum of Art, presented to about 50 Wichita State staff and community members Monday, stressing that “providing access to art and meeting need is fundamental to achieving relevance” as she talked about her accomplishments.

Brothers has spent 17 years as director of the McDonough Museum of Art at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Before that, she served as curator of contemporary art at the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois.

If chosen, Brothers would succeed Bob Workman, who is retiring after five years as the Ulrich museum’s director.

The Ulrich director reports to the university Provost, according to the position’s job description, and supervises a seven-person staff. The director oversees a $1.2 million annual budget, eight to 10 exhibitions each year, and a permanent collection of over 7,000 artworks. The director also manages an endowed fund for collection acquisition.

Brothers, whose area of expertise is contemporary art and culture, said that collaboration is part of the creative process. She used the bulk of her presentation to show how collaboration and access to arts were key to her most successful exhibitions and shows.

She finds joy in linking different areas of art together in the spirit of collaboration, she said.

Her museum’s most popular show, which drew over 2,000 people in less than six weeks, was an exhibition on 3D printing.

The show featured 3D prints of Warhol soup cans and things for the curious to touch and play with. Every attendee got to take a 3D-printed piece of the show home.

“(Attendees) loved that they could interact with the show, and they loved that they got to take something home,” Brother said.

Brothers also emphasized her ability to get collectors to put their pieces into shows.

“It was a real challenge and a real labor of love to talk them into taking these pieces off their walls, packing them up and bringing them to the museum for six weeks,” Brothers said. “I know many of you collectors might find that hard to imagine.”

Brothers said art can be impactful to all people, so long as you give them access to it and meet the needs of every kind of audience.

“You can see things in a whole new way,” Brothers sadi. “It’s a transformative experience.”