GRAM names director of learning and creativity


Christopher Bruce. Courtesy GRAM

A long-time arts educator has been named to a newly created role at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

The GRAM said last week it promoted Christopher Bruce to director of learning and creativity. 

Bruce, who joined the museum in 2010, was school programs manager.

Five-year plan

Dana Friis-Hansen, GRAM director and CEO, said the move is part of the museum’s new five-year plan.

“We are excited to appoint a talented arts educator with six years of institutional and community knowledge to lead GRAM’s initiatives in the creation of exceptional art and learning experiences,” Friis-Hansen said.

“With the museum's newly adopted Vision 2021 strategic plan, we are embracing a new mission: connecting people through art, creativity and design. In recognition of this revised focus, the department name has been changed from Learning and Audience Engagement to Learning and Creativity.”


A Michigan native and graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design’s art education program, Bruce has worked to shape and expand GRAM’s school programs since he was hired.

He has led strategic initiatives with Grand Rapids Public Schools and the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, including Language Artists, GRAM’s nationally recognized arts and literacy program for third-graders.

Tammy Bailey, GRAM board president, said Bruce’s promotion is “well-deserved.”

“Since starting at GRAM as an intern from Kendall College of Art and Design, his responsibilities and impact have expanded and greatly contributed to the national recognition GRAM has earned within the field of art museum education,” Bailey said.

“We are thrilled to have Christopher’s leadership and for him to augment the museum’s driving focus on bringing people together through engaging learning experiences with art, creativity and design.”

Bruce is president-elect of the Michigan Art Education Association and has served as the conference co-chair and membership chair. As part of the National Art Education Association, he has served as a representative at the National Leadership Conference and a national conference presenter and a national convention session peer reviewer. He has also been selected to participate in the School for Arts Leaders held at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

“Next chapter”

Bruce said he’s looking to the future.

“Over the past six years, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in the growth and evolution of not only the education department, but of the museum as a whole,” Bruce said.

“We’ve expanded our reach and focus to engage and serve the community — and this trend is certain to continue as we move into GRAM’s next chapter.

“I cannot begin to describe my excitement for what the future holds, including the programs we will launch, the relationships we will build and the people that we will connect to through experiences only GRAM can create.”

Grand Rapids Art Museum

GRAM is internationally known for its emphasis on design and its LEED Gold certification.

Established in 1910 as the Grand Rapids Art Association, GRAM has grown to include more than 5,000 works of art, including American and European 19th- and 20th-century paintings and sculptures and more than 3,000 works on paper.

Embracing the city’s legacy as a leading center of design and manufacturing, GRAM has a growing collection in the areas of design and modern craft.

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