June 2023

Meeting the Directors: Adria Brown

MER would like to spend some time celebrating the wonderful people that we have the opportunity to work with. We asked each director to answer a series of questions to allow us to get to know them better.

Adria takes a selfie while on an outdoor trail in autumn. She has her hair pulled back into a ponytail and is wearing a tshirt and crossbody bag. The plants along the trail are browned with some green leaves peeking through in the background. Adria Brown (she/her/hers) is the Associate Educator, Docent Program and Gallery Teaching at the Saint Louis Art Museum. She is a community builder, museum educator, and social worker based in St. Louis whose passions lie at the intersection of arts education, racial justice, and intergenerational healing. She advocates for tribal sovereignty, racial equity, and accessibility within arts and cultural institutions. She previously served as the Curator of Exhibitions and Education at the Chickasaw Cultural Center and has worked for We Stories, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Missouri Historical Society, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Hood Museum of Art. She earned a Master’s in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis in 2020 and a Bachelor’s in Native American Studies & Art History from Dartmouth College in 2015. She has been a board member since 2021 and is currently a Co-Vice President of MER and a Co-Chair of the Sustainability Team.

What made you want to join MER?

When I first applied, I was working at a rural cultural center and really craved further connections in the field.  I especially wanted to work with colleagues pushing our field to be more transformative and creative. Within that past role, I wore a lot of hats both in education and exhibition areas, and to be with other colleagues who had such different roles, but were also committed to learning within museums, was really appealing.

What are your dreams/goals for the organization during your tenure?

I am excited for the Journal of Museum Education to include more and more different pieces, (poetry, art, lyrical essays, and more!). I hope we incorporate more perspectives of those working in rural communities and those who are melding various disciplines into their careers.

How does MER align with your personal and/ or professional work?

Our issue JME 47.1 Radical Reimaginings of Museum Education really demonstrated how powerful it is to work in community in our field– through intentional reflection, holding ourselves and others accountable, and reimagining our work. This is what I aim for in my everyday- to continuously unlearn, learn, and imagine.

How do you relax and recharge after a long day?

Give me a historical romance novel, my two snuggly dogs, a milkshake, and a long themed playlist, and I’m truly set.

Who is someone you look up to?

I’m so inspired by contemporary Chickasaw artists building upon Chickasaw traditions and craftsmanship, and bringing their own unique vision to textiles, painting, mixed media, murals, and more. There are too many to name, but Margaret Roach Wheeler, Brenda Kingery, Amy Gantt, Billy Hensley, Dustin Mater, Brent Greenwood, are just a few to mention who inspire me!