Member Profile: Sara Engber and Mark Cordes

Member Profile: Sara Engber and Mark Cordes

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art members Sara Engber and Mark Cordes fell in love with the museum after visiting countless times for different exhibitions and programs. They fell so in love, that they decided to get married at Kemper Museum.

Married now for six years, Sara and Mark have enjoyed being Kemper members, appreciate the role the museum plays in the community, and like the focus on contemporary art.

“I think a dedicated venue like Kemper Museum is really really important for our community to keep it vibrant and to introduce a wide variety of audiences to contemporary art,” says Sara. “I think we would both agree that we just appreciate that [the Kemper staff] always show gratitude and welcome us when we go to events.”

One of their favorite exhibitions at Kemper was Liza Lou’s Backyard and Kitchen on view in the Charlotte Crosby Kemper Gallery in 1998. Over the years, Sara and Mark have also enjoyed the chance to meet artists and learn directly from them about their artwork.

“Talking with artists you get to understand not only the process but what drove them and aspects about the piece that you might not get from reading the wall text or reading the book,” says Mark. “Having that dialogue and access to the artists has really just given us that much more of a connection to the art.”

In addition to exploring art on view, Sara and Mark enjoy collecting artwork from local artists including photographer Steve Wilson and jewelry designer Cheryl Eva Acosta as well as work from artists living all over the country.

“I think [art] brings a certain beauty to life that other things can’t bring,” says Sara. “It makes you do some of the deep thinking you need to do, and then on the other side of it, enhances the environment that we live in.”

The couple also enjoys creating art in their own unique ways. Sara’s outlets include music, specifically the violin, while Mark enjoys photography and design.

“On one hand it’s an expression, it’s something that is very personal, it’s an outlet for expression but also just pleasure,” says Mark. “It is something that brings us happiness and a connection.”

––article and photo thanks to Audrey Kesler, 2020 Kemper Museum Intern


Kemper Museum Members help keep the Museum free for all visitors, underwriting the expense of special exhibitions and programs and inspiring many thousands with contemporary art each year.

Click here to learn more about becoming a Kemper Museum Member!