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In our Q&A series, we profile members of the McNay staff to show a behind-the-scenes look at all the people who make the McNay what it is! Today’s post features Julie Ledet, Senior Manager of Member and Visitor Experience.
What is your role at the McNay? Walk us through a typical workday in your shoes.
I am the Senior Manager of Member and Visitor Experience. My most consistent role is being an advocate for the McNay as well as for our community at large. My focus is cultivating new and existing visitors, members, and donors by building strong relationships rooted in the shared belief that art can transform lives. Museums are prime spaces for breaking down social barriers through meaningful experiences and encounters with the visual arts: I utilize that as the larger picture in every task at hand. Whether I am putting together a marketing plan for membership acquisition or developing a strategy for institutional growth, I am aware of the impact and value the McNay has on our community. My role, more specifically, is to nurture and diversify the Museum’s membership base and to help identify, cultivate and raise funds from foundations, corporations, and government sources.
What do you like to do outside of work? What are your favorite things to do and places to go in San Antonio?
Outside of work, I support my community by volunteering with various organizations. I am also a part of an arts collective, The Lullwood Group. Our mission in the group is to encourage audience participation, foster exploration, and promote art discovery in many forms. We keep it broad because our passion is making a difference in the local and regional art community. I also love to discover new food joints. I’m from South Louisiana, so what feeds my soul is EATING GOOD FOOD. I seek it regularly. I also believe that the best conversations happen when hovered over a full plate. One last thing – I love experiencing live music. In the last few years, I’ve seen a few of my favorites – Brian Wilson, Wynton Marsalis, and Paul Simon. All were incredible.
What has been your favorite exhibition at the McNay so far?
My honest answer is Neither Model nor Muse: Women as Artists, but my wonderful colleague, Liz Paris, already articulated beautifully the power of that exhibition in her Q&A. My second choice would be Voices of Suffering, a print exhibition organized by Lyle Williams, Curator of Prints and Drawings. The exhibition showcased a selection of rare prints by Käthe Kollwitz and Jose Clemente Orozco, two of my favorite printmakers. The prints collectively evoke an empathy towards the working-class with a focus on women. The exhibition exemplified that work can be as socially conscious as it is beautiful.
What is one thing about the McNay you wish everyone knew?
One thing that I LOVE about the McNay — and that I hope everyone in our community knows — is that our Museum is FREE for children and teens. I could only imagine how my life would have changed if I had this opportunity as a child. I am proud that the McNay provides that experience for young people.