GRAM hires new membership manager

Michael Catching will help increase museum’s outreach within the community.
Catching responds to emails and speaks to GRAM digital media coordinator Molly Labeff-Cabello (not pictured) about the overall workplace dynamic, which they refer to as the 'GRAMily.' Photo by Quinn Kirby

Michael Catching’s goal is to attract more visitors to the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Catching recently took on the role of membership manager with the objective of “overseeing and cultivating GRAM’s membership base.”

Prior to this position, Catching worked with the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce as its diversity and inclusion program coordinator and was responsible for the research and development of the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

“I’m very much looking forward to the chance to interact with members, create new and innovative ways to foster diversity in our community, as well as connect our members and donors to the many artists we have here in West Michigan,” Catching said.

He spoke with Grand Rapids Magazine about the role and his plans.

Grand Rapids Magazine: What can you tell us about your new role with GRAM?

Michael Catching: My new role as membership manager allows me to cultivate the audience that we have already built and try to expand that through other avenues and mediums. The members at GRAM make my job easier and worth the effort to come up with creative events and great perks to keep them enticed and excited about what the museum has to offer to the community. The GRAMily, as I like to call the staff here, has been really welcoming and made the transition easy and equally entertaining.

GRM: What attracted you to this position?

MC: The main attraction to this membership position was the opportunity to bridge the gap between creatives and non-creatives in our city. To some people, GRAM is the middle and heart of downtown next to Rosa Parks Circle. Through my role, I have the opportunity to be creative and innovative in how I attract new members into our space. GRAM, in my opinion, can become an essential resource for artists and art lovers to connect with art, and I’m excited to be a part of that. The people who have already discovered and love the art museum for what it has been in the past will help me usher in more members and new visitors that do not typically walk through our galleries.

GRM: How do you expect to contribute to GRAM’s five-year strategic plan?

MC: The museum is in the last year of an ambitious five-year plan, and I’m excited to work with the leadership team in developing strategies for GRAM membership for the next five years. I look forward to bringing my expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion and the connection to young adults in West Michigan. Grand Rapids is a fresh and vibrant city with young and diverse people that would love to be recognized, understood and celebrated. My contribution will be in areas that I can see myself being involved in: More advocacy on issues, more celebration and exposure of the local creative community, and more fun and beautiful events for Grand Rapidians to enjoy.

GRM: What do you enjoy most about the local art community in West Michigan?

MC: West Michigan has a unique sense of art and creativity. Its own style, its own flair, its own personality, and for me the best part about the art here in West Michigan is that it serves a bigger purpose. Following the community’s response to police brutality and violence against Black Americans, you would look around downtown and see all the beautiful murals and paintings created by local artists and it was refreshing and amazing to see that we, West Michiganders, can do something that spectacular in times of distress.

This story can be found in the May 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox each month, subscribe here

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