Share This Page

Greensburg art museum focuses on bringing in first-timers

| Monday, July 7, 2014, 11:09 p.m.
Austin Bachand | Tribune-Review
Claire Ertl, the new director of marketing and public relations for the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, stands in front of the artwork “Heat Lightning” by Robert F. Allen at the museum's temporary location along Route 30 in Hempfield.
Austin Bachand | Tribune-Review
Claire Ertl, the new director of marketing and public relations for the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, stands in front of a painting and diorama of the ongoing museum expansion.

Claire Ertl wants to attract first-time visitors to the expanded Westmoreland Museum of American Art when it opens next year.

Ertl, 36, of Shaler has begun working as director of marketing and public relations for the Greensburg museum, which is undergoing a $20 million renovation.

“It's a really exciting time to be here at the museum in this transformative time in its history,” Ertl said.

The construction will expand the museum by 13,000 square feet, with galleries, classrooms and studios.

The grounds will be transformed with native plants and trees, a meadow and three interconnected walkways. A parking lot is part of the plans, along with enhanced visibility of the museum from North Main Street and North Maple Avenue.

The museum is planning a gala event before the grand reopening and will undergo a “rebranding” that includes a new logo, which is in development, Ertl said.

Other plans are being formulated for raising funds and increasing awareness and attracting patrons to the museum, she said.

“I think with the reopening we have the opportunity to do an expanded marketing campaign ... to hopefully attract a new audience,” Ertl said.

Ertl has a bachelor's degree in studio art from Denison University in Ohio. She has worked with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as senior director of marketing and sales and in the marketing department of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

“I'm absolutely delighted to be at the Westmoreland museum. With my educational background in studio art, this is really a perfect fit,” Ertl said.

“We are very happy to have Claire join the Westmoreland team at this important and transformational time in our history,” said Judith O'Toole, museum director and chief executive officer.

“Her extensive arts marketing experience will serve us well as we work to spread awareness about our current ‘Imagine What's Possible' capital and endowment campaign,” O'Toole said.

More than $21 million has been raised or pledged for the $38 million campaign.

As part of that effort, museum officials have sent mailings to past supporters and are reaching out to businesses and individuals, Ertl said.

A temporary site, called Westmoreland @rt30, will operate on Route 30 in Unity until the Greensburg museum reopens.

The museum is promoting its Pop Up Exhibitions that showcase local artists — currently Robert F. Allen and Jeff Brunner — and Art on Tap happy hour events the second Friday of each month.

Until Aug. 31, the museum is hosting the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annual Exhibition, the oldest and longest continuing survey of regional art in the country. The works of Henry Koerner, Samuel Rosenberg, Philip Pearlstein, Jonathan Borofsky, Peter Muller Munk, Virginia Cuthbert, Mary Cassatt and Andy Warhol have been part of past exhibitions.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.