Highlighted Member: Margaret McDonald

Highlighted Member: Margaret McDonald

Each month, CAM spotlights a member whose support has been instrumental to the Museum. Learn who these members are, what they love about the Museum, and why they decided to join. This is a great opportunity to get to know others within the CAM community and celebrate members’ support. 

Name: Margaret McDonald
Member level:
Member Since:

What has been your favorite exhibition at the museum?

One of the exhibitions I truly enjoyed was from the artist Chantal Akerman (Moving Through Time and Space). It was a loud, edgy exhibition that was a series of films. At first it was startling trying to take everything in, but the more you viewed the exhibition, the more you appreciated the artist’s work. I also love the Great Rivers Biennial exhibitions. It is a great way to recognize local artists and showcase their work to a bigger audience. I love the fact that CAM is recognized internationally, but also strives to make a connection to local artists within the community.

Do you have a favorite program or event?

The most memorable event I attended was one of the first Dada Balls. It was like a big, crazy art playground. People were wearing over-the-top costumes, and there was a giant swing in the middle of the lobby that you could ride on. I just remember being so excited to be surrounded by people who wanted to celebrate contemporary art.

The Distinguished Speaker lecture is always interesting to attend. When Jerry Saltz, the art critic, gave the lecture a couple of years ago, he brought a different perspective to the Museum. He definitely rattled cages and stirred it up. But it was great to hear from someone who is not part of the St. Louis community. And that is why I love CAM! It brings people, like Jerry Saltz, who show us that we are connected outside of St. Louis and have an impact in New York and Europe.

Why are you a member of CAM?

I connect with CAM, and I love the community that it brings together. I always feel welcomed at the Museum, but it also challenges what I think about art. When you visit the museum, you might not like the look of the artwork or it might make you uncomfortable, but that is what contemporary art is about. It is about looking beyond the standard beauty we have grown accustomed to seeing in art history books. At each exhibition, CAM features up-and-coming artists that present new ideas and gives those artists a voice beyond just putting their art on the wall. I always leave the Museum eager to come back to see what’s next.

You are not just a member but part of the team that is working on the new look of CAM’s café and lobby. Why do you think these changes are important?

We wanted to create a space that was warm and inviting. After viewing the exhibition, people can relax and spend time with friends in the café space. It is a great way to have a break from a busy day and just pause to take something in. As CAM focuses on the visitor experience, it has looked at not just museums for ideas but also companies it can learn from. The new café space won’t challenge the art or building but will enhance it. And I hope visitors will enjoy the changes!

What excites you about CAM’s future?

I am really excited to have Lisa Melandri as the new director. She comes from the west coast, which is unexpected since most people look to New York when it comes to contemporary art. But I think she will bring new talent and connections to St. Louis. Plus she brings a fresh and exciting energy that makes you excited for the next chapter of CAM.

Why would you encourage others to become members of CAM?

I think it is important to give support to the organizations that are beneficial to our community. St. Louis needs to be multi-faceted. We have a traditional art museum and a history museum, but to balance those wonderful institutions we also need to have contemporary art. And I want St. Louis to be a leader in the contemporary art world. I would encourage everyone to visit the museum and check out their events calendar. I think people would be amazed by what all CAM has to offer—both culturally and socially! There are food tastings, Etsy sales, readings, performances, films, concerts, AND most importantly, fantastic art! I often say you can have your whole social life at CAM. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy!


Find out more about CAM membership here.

CAM’s new lobby and café furniture will be in place by mid-November 2012. Look for it on your next visit to the Museum.