Thursday, September 3, 2009
Taubman Names New Executive Director
David Mickenberg, the newly-appointed executive director of Roanoke's Taubman Museum of Art says arts organizations must have "a 360-degree understanding" of their place in the "social, economic and environmental" communities where they are housed. Mickenberg, the Ruth Gordon Shapiro '37 Director of the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, succeeds Georganne C. Bingham, who retired from the museum in May. Bingham directed the museum through its fund-raising efforts to its opening before retiring.
Mickenberg has also served as a senior lecturer in Wellesley College’s Department of Art.
Mickenberg emphasized that the art museum "is no longer a stand-alone organization" in the arts community and it must become "an integral part" of efforts to strengthen all arts in the region.
Says John Williamson, co-chairman of the search committee, “David brings a caliber of curatorial experience and knoweldge, fundraising prowess, management capabilities, and relationships within the museum and art communities that will be instrumental in shaping the direction and future of the museum. He is skilled at running complex institutions, and he knows what it will take to operate and manage all of the varied components that comprise the Taubman.”
Mickenberg says that "during the last 20 years" arts funding from federal agencies "has been lost," but "the Obama Administration has begun to increase some of that funding." However, he warns, "the arts community as a whole must realize that government resources are finite and seek other sources of funding."
Dr. Paul Frantz, president of the Taubmen's board of trustees, says, "David Mickenberg has the background, experience and vision needed to lead the museum. We are certain that he will successfully build upon the foundation created in this first year of the museum’s operation and move the museum forward as we work toward our goal of establishing the Taubman as a leading art museum on a national level.”
At the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Mickenberg successfully completed a $10.5 million endowment campaign for programming and acquisitions, oversaw the thematic reinstallation of the collections, and significantly increased the attendance at the museum by faculty, staff, students, and the public. Under his leadership, the museum created a curatorial exchange program with the Louvre, began an international fellowship and internship program in the arts for Wellesley students, organized exhibitions that circulated nationally, and significantly enhanced and expanded the museum’s collections.
“I am extremely honored to accept the position of executive director and join the Taubman at such an exciting time,” said Mickenberg. “I believe that the potential for tremendous success exists, and I look forward to leading the institution as it continues to grow and develop into a premier museum and center for the arts.”
Prior to his tenure at the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Mickenberg served as the director of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University and was a lecturer in the university’s Department of Art History from 1986-2001. While there he successfully led the capital and endowment campaign, built an award winning new museum that opened in 2000, curated numerous exhibitions that circulated to museums throughout the country, and created several on-line projects that explored how new media could be used to extend and compliment the museum experience.
From 1981-1986, he served as the executive director of the Oklahoma Museum of Art.
“We are delighted to have David as our new executive director,” said Eugenia L. Taubman, chair of the museum’s capital campaign committee. “His appointment is a major step forward for the museum, and we are very excited for what lies ahead under his guidance and management,” added Taubman. The Taubman Museum of Art is named for Taubman and her husband, former Ambassador to Romania Nicholas F. Taubman.
Editor Dan Smith contributed to this story and photos.