MFA Hires First Chief Of Learning And Community Engagement
Makeeba McCreary will become the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston first ever chief of learning and community engagement. MFA Director Matthew Teitelbaum announced the addition of the position Wednesday.
McCreary, who is slated to start in her new position on Jan. 14, was previously the managing director and senior adviser of external affairs at Boston Public Schools.
In her new position, McCreary will oversee and bring together staff across four museum departments: Education; Volunteer and Community Engagement; Lectures, Courses and Concerts; and Film. Through the role, McCreary hopes to engage more with those who do not regularly visit the museum. (One goal of MFA 2020, the museum’s strategic plan, is to bring more diverse audiences to the institution.)
McCreary says she understands those who do not regularly go to the MFA because she was one of them. After spending more than 20 years helping create equity and access, she hopes to do the same at the museum.
“When only some people have access to ... programs, you worry and you want to make sure that you find all of the ways you can to remove those barriers,” McCreary said in a phone interview. “I'm really looking forward to being able to immerse myself in the world of the museum, understand its history but also currently what the stories that are being told."
McCreary said she hopes the MFA’s renewed commitment to learning and community engagement will be shared beyond Boston and its neighborhoods. Having lived her whole life in Boston, she's noticed that people, herself included, tend to be neighborhood-centric and that they self-isolate within their own communities.
Impressed by the MFA’s willingness to work toward creating a path for everyone to have access to the museum, McCreary said she is looking forward to working with everyone and help create more community engagement.
“[Art] speaks to you, no matter what your skin color is or what your socioeconomic background is," McCreary said. “You can create it, you can enjoy it, you can be a witness to it or you can actually be a participant. That calling is, I think, both an awesome responsibility but also an awesome opportunity, and I think there are a lot of other institutions that could also do this work with equal passion.”
Teitelbaum said the museum is thrilled to have McCreary join the MFA. “Not only does she have deep experience in both education and public service, she has demonstrated a profound personal and professional commitment to the city of Boston and its many diverse Communities,” he said in a statement.
McCreary has a background in direct service, program design and evaluation, as well as experience in grant management for clients targeting large-scale change for urban youth and families. She has also worked as an educational policy consultant for Compass Consulting and director of philanthropic services for EdVestors Boston. She serves on the board of directors for a variety of local organizations including the Cotting School, Scholar Athletes and My Brother’s Keeper Boston.