Marylen Mann served as Nominating Chair for the Board of Directors until her retirement in 2008. She was instrumental in building the body of the Board as well as the community outreach services that the Museum provides. Marylen was the founder of OASIS, the largest education and volunteer service organization for mature adults in the United States. She continues supporting CAM as an emeritus member.
How did you first get involved with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis?
When I first joined the Board of Directors, my role was to help develop the Museum’s community outreach. CAM has done an outstanding job providing our community with exhibitions and public programs that showcase contemporary art. And the Museum offers a lively educational environment to learn about what is being showcased.
What is one of your fondest memories of CAM?
OASIS received a grant by the National Institute of Aging to have medical students interact with and get to know St. Louis’s well, mobile senior population, like the OASIS members. In partnership with CAM, OASIS was able to have a six-week project at the Museum that brought medical students and OASIS members together. CAM gave us the space to explore contemporary art, listen to others’ reactions to the artwork, and then, as a group, to work on a contemporary art piece of our own. The program was so successful that it was replicated in four other cities across the country. By using contemporary art, CAM brought two different generations together to learn not only about contemporary art but each other. It was an experience I will never forget!
Have you always been a contemporary art enthusiast?
I have always loved art, but education is what drives me. I truly believe that CAM combines both of these components. Contemporary art can be difficult to grasp, but CAM gives visitors the opportunity to take tours, listen to lectures, and even participate in studio classes. It provides chances for kids to create and express themselves through inspiration taken from the art world. When you take advantage of these programs, it opens a whole new door to the art world and helps grow your appreciation for what is on view at the Museum.
What would you like to share with someone who hasn’t visited the Museum?
The artwork that CAM displays can be thought-provoking, breathtaking, and challenging. It takes us beyond what our traditional response to art is in order to better understand and appreciate the artist’s view point and meaning. CAM is an important institution to our city, one that I hope everyone takes advantage of and enjoys.