2 photos of Margaret Siegrist, 1 at work at the DAM and one as a singer

Meet Margaret Siegrist: DAM Sales Associate & Opera Singer

In addition to working at the Denver Art Museum, many of our staff members are engaged with the local creative community in a variety of ways. In a series of articles, we'd like to introduce you to some of the creatives and artists on our staff.

1. What do you do at the museum?

I'm a sales and services associate so I help people with memberships and introduce guests to the museum as they get their admission.

2. How long have you worked here?

I started in early August.

3. What did you do before?

For the last two years I've been working on my master's in opera and traveling to perform—as close as the University of Northern Colorado and as far as Hamburg!

4. What creative outlet do you do outside the museum?

I'm continuing to build my career as a singer, so when I'm not here at the DAM, I'm almost always in rehearsal. My projects for the next couple of months are Mozart & Co. a program for kids with Central City Opera, La Bohème with Opera Colorado, Cendrillon (Cinderella) with Boulder Opera, Hansel & Gretel with Denver Immersive Opera, and performances with Opera on Tap Colorado.

5. How did you become involved in opera?

My singing career began at four years old as I assertively belted my own repertoire choices at church, not necessarily when it was time to sing... I always loved performing and connecting with audiences, and I started voice lessons in high school.

Classical music teaches a wide palate of skills in singing that apply across genres, so my teacher started me there. I loved the element of exploration that comes with researching music in different languages out of other cultures/historical contexts and finding ways to present it in an accessible way to modern audiences. Contemporary opera by American composers aren't heard too widely yet, and I'm passionate about getting those works out there as well.

6. What inspires you creatively? What advice would you offer someone about pursuing a creative endeavor?

Experimenting with bringing out relatable elements of character through music, text, and performance is incredibly inspiring and rewarding for me. The arts are a uniquely articulate medium for expressing experiences, feelings, etc. Personally, I find the element of connection and communication most important, and I'd recommend that people pursuing creative endeavors focus on their audiences.

7. What’s your favorite artwork/artist on view now (or in the collection) and why?

I've always liked Stacey Steers' Night Hunter, which is not currently on view, but is in the collection. It's a contemporary multimedia piece involving a Victorian dollhouse and vintage film. I grew up coming to the DAM.

8. What’s your favorite interaction you’ve had with a visitor?

I always love when kids tell me they brought their parents to see something they got excited about on a school trip or other visit. It's great to see enthusiasm about art and strong opinions shared at all age.

9. What do you recommend visitors see when they come to visit? Or what’s your favorite spot/view, etc. at the museum?

I recommend that visitors take the stairs in the Hamilton Building because of all the interesting alcoves and surreal asymmetry.

10. Other than the DAM, where do you recommend people go to either participate in an artistic/creative effort or see/support others’ artistic/creative efforts?

For a first taste of opera, I'd recommend Opera on Tap performances at Syntax, just down Broadway. It's an ensemble of pro opera singers that performs concerts and food/beer/music pairing events in bars and non-traditional venues. Shows are informal and fun! Opera Colorado is debuting a new work Steal a Pencil for Me in January. It's in English and follows a love story unfolding in a WWII concentration camp.

Anna Millholland is manager of onsite sales and services at the Denver Art Museum. Anna has been at the DAM since 2011 and one of her favorite exhibitions that has been on view here is Material World.

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