SPOTLIGHT : JANE ALEXANDER
In the Fall 2019, I drove my youngest across country to college. I left our house in Shaker Heights for a two-bedroom apartment on the west side with a stunning view of Lake Erie. The following year was going to be one of new beginnings and adventures. My eldest’s college graduation, the launch of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s first digital immersive exhibition, and life on my own to travel and explore. But there were no opening parties, no caps thrown into the air, no spontaneous trips to visit friends. My apartment doubled as my workplace and my job took twice as many hours. I learned the new vocabulary —”WFH,” “social distancing,” “Jane you’re on mute,” “what are you bingeing on Netflix?” I purchased my first pair of Lululemon sweats that I wore daily. Everyone was on the hunt for yeast and alcohol, but it was hand sanitizer that was prized.
The lake was my constant companion. It transported me to a specific place, conveyed a distinct mood or state of mind, celebrated life, or reflected loss. The shifting colors revealed the duality of dark reality and bright inspiration. It was my way of exploring while being stuck inside. The lake was my connection with the world, nature, my surroundings. It reminded me that life is fluid and ever-changing – that there is beauty and movement even when we feel trapped in time and space.
No travels, graduations, or hosting people for dinner. But all I need is to look out the window.
I am looking at it now. Lake Erie is my anchor.
Jane Alexander is the Chief Digital Information Oﬃcer for the Cleveland Museum of Art. Jane is responsible for creating transformative, awe-inspiring, and iterative digital projects with a visionary application of technology in support of the CMA’s mission.
In 2021, Jane led the development of unprecedented innovative in-gallery experiences in Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain. The ﬁrst scholarly exhibition of its kind, Revealing Krishna provided immersive mixed-reality experiences to visitors, using technology alongside exceptional masterworks of art to tell stories of conservation, provenance, and the evolving role of museums in care and stewardship.
Since its inception in 2010, Jane has led the many iterations of ARTLENS Gallery. This world-renowned multifaceted experience inspires museum visitors to look closer and dive deeper to establish a connection with the CMA’s extensive collection. Using state-of-the-art digital innovation, ARTLENS Gallery seamlessly integrates fun and learning while giving visitors skills to enhance their appreciation of the art throughout the museum. Both projects have received numerous national and international awards and have been featured in a wide variety of national publications.
In 2019, under Jane’s leadership, the CMA launched a comprehensive Open Access initiative, allowing the public to share, collaborate, remix, and reuse high-resolution images of public domain works and metadata for the CMA’s whole collection. Under Jane’s leadership, the museum created API-driven tool sets, using technologies such as AI and AR to engage with visitors, responding to current needs. In her 11-year tenure at the museum, Jane has moved the museum to be a data-driven, technologically forward-thinking institution.
Jane holds a BA in architecture and a BS/MS in applied mathematics from Columbia University. Though natively a New Yorker, Jane has fallen in love with Cleveland. Outside of the museum, you can ﬁnd her on urban hikes across Cleveland or taking photographs of Lake Erie.