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August 2021 Signature Speaker Series

August 11, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

$35.00 – $50.00

Finding Myself in an Art Museum (and you can too!)

Melissa Wolfe

Curator of American Art
Saint Louis Art Museum


Art Museums can often be places where we feel uncomfortable, even for those of us who love to visit them. Why do we like a particular work of art? Why do we totally not get one that must be good because it’s in a gallery?? Who do we ask to find out all this stuff? I am the head of the American Art department at the Saint Louis Art Museum, I have a PhD in art history, I have been an art curator for over 30 years and I STILL ask myself these same questions. (However, I know who to ask for those tricky answers!) My talk is about these questions, their answers, and how I—as a young woman from a very rural and pretty economically challenged background—ended up where I am. And, maybe even more important to me, how have I worked these many years to break down the (sometimes elitist) barriers that keep so many of us from really finding and “seeing ourselves” in the galleries I dearly love.


Key Takeaways:

1. There are so many ways for “non-artsy” women to connect and grow (and even “find their artsy”) in an art museum!

2. What “behind-the-scenes” perspectives and processes go into creating an exhibition—in other words, what exactly do all those people at an art museum, like curators, do?

3. How are the demographics of art museum professionals changing and what does this mean for what we see in the galleries and exhibitions?


More about Melissa:

Melissa joined the Art Museum in 2015 as curator and head of the Department of American Art. She oversaw an extensive reinterpretation of the museum’s American art galleries that opened in 2016.

She previously was curator of American art at the Columbus Museum of Art, where she has worked for 14 years on a succession of important exhibitions, catalogues, and collection development. Her projects “George Bellows and the American Experience” (2013), “George Tooker: A Retrospective” (2008), and “In Monet’s Garden: The Lure of Giverny” (2007) were awarded significant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation and Terra Foundation for American Art.

Wolfe received undergraduate degrees from Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., and a master’s degree and doctorate in the history of art at The Ohio State University, where she also served as adjunct professor.

Your server will take your order at the event.  You will have a choice of: 

California Power Bowl
Breast of Chicken
Crab Cakes
Petite Filet Mignon – $15 upcharge (please contact Julie at stlpwa@gmail.com to upgrade your order)

Your meal will also be served with:
Caesar Salad
Roasted Asparagus
Fleming’s Potatoes
Key Lime Pie

Menu includes coffee, tea, and soft drinks

Please advise your server of any food allergies.  Thank you.

Disclaimer:  Photos and videos of all members, guests, speakers, and affiliates may be used in any and all publications and materials promoted by PWA.

The Professional Women’s Alliance is an organization of women supporting one another for personal and professional development.  We strive to keep the annual membership cost affordable to encourage participation.  We also believe in “try it before you buy it” which is the reason we offer potential members the opportunity to attend two events before deciding to join.


August 11, 2021
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
$35.00 – $50.00
Event Category:


Fleming’s Prime Steak House
1855 S Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63131 United States
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