If anything else, Milliken is adaptable and the differences between being a curator of an art gallery and a curator of an art museum are varied, but he welcomes the challenges that this position brings. “Working with a board is a fantastic challenge and the financial aspects have a different rhythm. I’m having to speak a lot on my vision for the museum and asking people to believe in it,” he said.
When asked what he hopes to bring to KMAC, Milliken said, “I want to build a relevant museum for the region that discusses issues of identity and that can be local, national and international identity. I don’t believe that this should just be a Kentucky museum. I think we’re going to learn more about ourselves as Kentuckians if we started showing works from other parts of the country and other parts of the world. When we bring people and artworks here, we position Kentucky in the world and this is good for local artists."
"For instance, Rebekka Seigel, who is a textile artist, has had a bunch of shows here and she is an incredibly skilled craftsperson. I feel like she’s never really gotten the support or has been challenged fully. She’s been in quilt shows around the country, but I think her works can compare to some of the works of the great contemporary artists. If we bring in pieces from Cindy Sherman and put them alongside Rebekka Seigel’s work people will begin looking at her work as well as other people’s work within the region. My job is to inspire artists in the community."
Rebekka Seigel, "Prepubescent Pool Party"
Milliken hopes that he is part of the process of change that the city of Louisville is currently experiencing and as an outsider looking in he adds, “I don’t believe in the phrase ‘Keep Louisville Weird.’ Let’s not hold it back from anything. Let’s just go forward and make stuff happen. There is something happening in Louisville and I’m here because there are possibilities here that I probably wouldn’t have had at other places. Louisville is a good place, and I want to keep on pushing and exploring what’s happening here.”
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft’s current exhibit, 50 Years of Studio Glass , is on view until July 1. On Friday, June 1, Canadian/American glass artist Laura Donefer will lead a glass demonstration at Flame Run in the Glassworks building, 815 W. Market Street, from 1 to 3 p.m. At 7 p.m. that evening, she will give a gallery talk at KMAC. The event is free and open to the public.