Monday, January 7, 2019
Dear Cranbrook Friends and Family,
Welcome to 2019! It’s my hope that each of you enjoyed a happy and healthy holiday season. As we start a new year, I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to some new faces and places around Cranbrook and remind you of some recent additions.
Cranbrook Schools began its 2018-2019 school year with a new Director, Aimeclaire (AC) Roche. AC brings an incredible 30 years of experience in education and leadership to the Schools. Halfway through her first school year at Cranbrook, AC has spent her time learning about Cranbrook’s culture, traditions, initiatives, and curriculum. She has developed relationships with teachers, staff, students, parents and others throughout the Community. We officially welcomed AC with a celebration last November, and I hope you had the chance to join us. Please note that parents interested in enrolling students at Cranbrook Schools have the opportunity to attend the Winter Open House on Sunday, January 13 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.
Late last summer, Susan Ewing was named Interim Director of Cranbrook Academy of Art. Susan is known internationally for her experience as a metalsmith, professor, and administrator. As the Director of the Academy of Art, Susan collaborates with and guides the Artists-in-Residence, including Carla Diana, Designer-in-Residence of the Academy’s new 4D Design program. The first new department to be added to the Academy in nearly 50 years, 4D Design will continue to build upon Cranbrook’s legacy as a leader in innovation and experimentation in education, art, design and architecture. Cranbrook is now accepting students for this coming fall and I’m pleased that we will have Susan and Carla here to welcome our first class.
Cranbrook Art Museum showcases modern and contemporary art, architecture, craft, and design, a reflection of the Academy of Art’s areas of study. In the fall, the Art Museum opened its new Art Lab, a space for visitors of all ages to not only create art, but also to make deeper connections with the artworks and ideas encountered in the Museum. More than 2,000 visitors have already participated in the Art Lab. I highly recommend visiting Art Lab during one of the Art Museum’s upcoming Family Days, Happy Hours, or Museum workshops.
Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research had another terrific year in 2018. The Center announced recently the donation of the Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House to Cranbrook by The Towbes Foundation with support from Anne Smith Towbes and the late Michael Towbes. Over the summer, the Center transformed the former Seminar Room within the Cranbrook Art Museum Collections Wing into a new Cranbrook Archives Reading Room. Last fall, the Center also oversaw the completion of the Lily Pond Cascade restoration, the first of a six-phase rejuvenation plan for Cranbrook’s historic Japanese Garden. I encourage you to experience the progress so far in one of the most peaceful parts of campus. In the meantime, I suggest you may want to connect with the Center’s website to learn more about Cranbrook’s Japanese Garden, one of the oldest in North America. While you’re on the Center’s site, be sure to subscribe to the Cranbrook Kitchen Sink blog as well. Published weekly, this fascinating blog does an excellent job of highlighting little known stories and facts about Cranbrook’s history and culture.
If you’re like me and can’t wait for spring to get back to gardening, check out the Conservatory Greenhouse at Cranbrook House & Gardens. The Greenhouse offers a perfect winter escape, right here at Cranbrook. It’s home to a beautiful orchid room, tropical habitats, and a Cacti Garden, which was expanded last year by Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary volunteers. The Greenhouse is managed entirely by Auxiliary volunteers and is open to the public free of charge on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I know I’ll be stopping by Friday, February 8 or Saturday, February 9 between 10:00am and 2:00pm to purchase some houseplants during their annual winter sale.
On your next visit to Cranbrook Institute of Science, please don’t leave without meeting Mary, one of the newest faces at our natural history museum. Mary is always hanging around ExploreLAB, she is a bit shy and doesn’t talk much, but I know she would like to meet you. Fun fact about Mary – she was named after Mary R. Dawson, a Michigan native and paleontologist. Our Mary, of course, is the Institute’s resident triceratops!
Visitors to Cranbrook House often inquire about what is on the second and third floors. These floors are home to the administrative offices of Cranbrook Educational Community, including accounting, human resources, advancement, and my own office. Our community’s Chief Advancement Officer, Eileen Savage, is also based in Cranbrook House, on the third floor. Eileen has been adding new staff – such as Sarah O’Brien, Director of Advancement Services, and Terri Morawski, Donor Relations and Stewardship Manager – and restructuring the advancement department to better serve our donors and to ensure that Cranbrook is strongly positioned to maximize philanthropic support. Two other new faces on the Development Team for Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum are Autumn Parrott, Senior Director of Development and Alexis Weisbrod, Assistant Director for Donor and Volunteer Relations.
I’m honored to share these staffing, programmatic, and other updates with you. Please feel free to contact me if you have any feedback or would like a conversation regarding any activities in our Community. I do my very best to always be available to Cranbrook’s family and friends.
With all of these changes at Cranbrook, I am reminded of a quote from President Emeritus Lillian Bauder, “This place—Cranbrook—challenges people toward excellence, sustains them while they engage in the challenge, and, for those who are fortunate enough to be a part of Cranbrook for a period of time, enters them. They become a part of Cranbrook, and Cranbrook becomes a part of them.” I hope you take the time to personally meet our new staff and visit Cranbrook soon.