How Are You Coping? MAM Curator Lisa Sutcliffe

This curator likes to bring her camera with her when she takes walks around her neighborhood.

For‘s series, How Are You Coping, photographer Alexis Gleason is creating portraits via Facetime. “I started this project as a way to connect with people. In the process, I’ve seen that these sessions are giving people a reason to get dolled up for a special occasion—even if its just posing in their living room.”

WE ASKED LISA SUTCLIFFE, Curator of Photography for the Milwaukee Art Museum, how she’s been spending her time at home these days.

How have you been staying grounded lately?

I take a daily walk. I follow the same route and photograph a tree I pass by each day. I like recording the “quarantine time” this way. I’ve also been meditating every morning, doing a lot of yoga and reading.

The museum’s doors are closed right now, but it’s still maintaining a web presence. Can you tell me a bit about that?

The world needs art and artists more than ever to make sense of and help us recover from this pandemic. Although the museum isn’t physically open, we are continuing to think of ways we can connect our audiences with art to help us understand these times and heal.

What’s working remotely been like?

I’m so fortunate that I can do most of my work from home since most of what I do involves reading and writing. Oddly, I feel far more productive. But I do miss walking through our galleries and interacting with our visitors. And I miss visiting with artists and seeing what they are working on in person. I look forward to being able to do those things again!

Have you taken up any new hobbies while you’ve been stuck at home?

I’ve doubled down on hobbies I’ve always practiced: walking, reading, yoga and pilates, meditating, cooking. Is zoom cocktailing considered a hobby? If so, that’s a new one.

What can Milwaukeeans do right now to support artists and arts organizations?

It’s vital to support artists and arts organizations, now more than ever. If you love the visual and performing arts, please support the institutions you care about: become a member or make a donation. If you know artists, reach out and find out what they are working on and ask what you can do to support them. If you don’t know artists, follow curators or artists on Instagram and start to familiarize yourself with the artists in your midst!

What MAM shows are you looking forward to most when the museum opens again?

Well, I’m looking forward to seeing our collection again. But I’m most excited for Susan Meiselas: Through A Woman’s Lens. It’s a show I organized that was set to open in April and I can’t wait to share it with you when we’re able to do so.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to add to the general chorus acknowledging the heroism of medical professionals and essential workers. And I’d like to thank all my fellow Wisconsinites who are following the social distancing guidelines that help keep us healthy. It’s heartening to see a community rally to benefit the greater good. Sending best wishes of health and wellness to everyone reading this!




Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.