2017-09-01 / Spotlight

Art Start

Erin Coe, Director | Palmer Museum of Art
Robyn Passante

Erin Coe has forged a career out of making art an essential part of the community in which she lives. And after spending nearly 18 years at The Hyde Collection in upstate New York, she’s eager to do that in State College as director of Penn State’s Palmer Museum of Art.

“That’s what really drives me,” says Coe. “You really have to listen to your community and what they want from their museum.”

Coe is taking the reins during an exciting time for the museum, as Penn State President Eric Barron’s strategic plan calls for creating a cultural destination at The Arboretum at Penn State with a new Palmer Museum of Art there.

She and her husband, Eric Cramer, have settled in State College in time to soak up the fun and flavors of fall. We caught up with her in transition as she shared her favorite things, which keep her busy life balanced and calm.

1. Happy Yogi
“I love yoga. It’s very important to me, especially in the last 10 years in terms of my overall well-being, state of mind, peace of mind. It really allows me to let go and to focus. One of the things I was most excited about, aside from the job, was that State College has a great yoga community.”

2. Take a Spin
“My husband and I are avid bikers. We really enjoy biking rail trails. We’ve biked most of the Erie Canal rail trail, as well as rail trails in Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine. So we’re really excited to explore the trails around here.”

3. Perfect Pup
“Cooper is the best dog ever,” Coe says of the Doberman/Staffordshire terrier mix the couple adopted 10 years ago. Cooper was Coe’s first adopted dog, and she says she’ll never go back to buying pure breeds. “He’s so affectionate, friendly, he’s a wonderful companion, he loves people. He’s just all-around the most perfect dog.”

4. Reading Ritual
“I’ve always been a reader, especially before I go to bed. I can’t sleep if I don’t read,” says Coe, whose husband gave her the first Nook when it came out in 2009. “I thought I would miss the tactile experience of holding a book, but this is actually a lot lighter. I think that’s what got me hooked.”

5. Wearable Art
“I love to knit; I love chunky yarns. Lately what I find very meditative and relaxing and also creative is knitting a scarf, trying a different scarf pattern and giving them as gifts. It’s a great way to give a little part of yourself.”

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