February 26, 2018
UPDATE as of March 1, 2018: I am very pleased to announce that Laurie McGahey, who has served as our senior director of advancement for the past five years, has been named deputy director of the Michener Art Museum. Additionally, Louise Feder will serve as interim chief curator. Please join me in congratulating both of these very capable professionals!
After nearly two months as interim director of the Michener—and a phenomenal whirlwind of exciting activity—I want to update you on recent developments.
First, I would like to thank all of you who contribute in countless ways to the Michener Art Museum. Without our incredible staff, docents, and volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to present our groundbreaking exhibitions, enriching and entertaining programs, and an incredible array of art classes. Without our members and donors, we wouldn’t be able to serve our community and visitors from around the world, or participate in prestigious initiatives that enhance our reputation as a leading institution of American art. Every day, we make magic happen.
In fact, it’s happening in our galleries right now. Magical & Real: Henriette Wyeth and Peter Hurd, A Retrospective opened on January 21 to critical acclaim, and has drawn thousands of visitors over the past few weeks. They share positive impressions and flattering comments that make us very proud. (We always appreciate comments from our visitors.) This remarkable exhibition, which focuses on the life and work of a female artist in the Wyeth family—Henriette Wyeth—as well as that of her equally talented husband, Peter Hurd. This show happened because two curators—the Michener’s Kirsten Jensen and Sara Woodbury of the Roswell Museum and Art Center—invested their time and talents, and conducted extensive research over the past few years. They even solved an art history mystery by tracking down a long-lost mural by Henriette Wyeth that has since been restored (thanks to a generous Bank of America Art Conservation Project grant) and is now part of the Michener collection.
This extraordinary show will be Kirsten Jensen’s last at the Michener. We are grateful for all that she has shared with us these last four years in her role as the Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator, and we wish her well in her promising career.
For now, we are forging ahead at full speed with Louise Feder, our assistant curator, at the helm of our excellent curatorial department that includes Birgitta Bond, our full-time librarian/archivist, as well as several other stellar professionals: Anna Kelly, Wendi Johnson, Bryan Brems, and Chad Chaney. Our next major exhibition, View Finders: Four Photographic Voices, will be organized by Guest Curator Liz Sheehan, followed by In the Museum We Trust: 30 Years of Art at the Michener, which will be curated by Louise. We are presenting several other special exhibitions as well, including Virtually Rudy: New Dimensions in Sculpture, which is now on view and explores the intersection of 21st-century technology and 20th-century art.
The director search is proceeding well. Dozens of qualified candidates from around the nation have applied for the position. We are poised to begin interviews with those we consider might make the best fit. Realistically, because we want to be very deliberate and thorough in our process, we will probably not have a new director before the end of the summer. After that, we will secure a new chief curator.
I promise to keep you posted as we move forward over the next few months. We understand the value of open communication, especially in a community in which the Michener has enjoyed so much support, and we have so much to look forward to. In the meantime, I welcome your comments and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you again—everyone—for all you do to support the arts and our very special institution.
Barbara Donnelly Bentivoglio
Interim Executive Director