Press Releases & Statements

Post Mid-Winter Meeting Press Release - San Francisco, CA

January 30, 2012

New York, NY—January 30, 2012—At its mid-winter meeting in San Francisco earlier this month, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) continued its work to support innovation in art museum leadership, advancement, and programming through a series of programs, guest speakers, and information-sharing sessions, with more than 150 member directors participating over three days.

Among the sessions presented were two expressly addressing the subject of innovation: as part of the work of AAMD’s Futures Task Force, Elizabeth Merritt from the American Association of Museum’s Center for the Future of Museums spoke about demographic and other trends that may affect art museums over the next decade and beyond, while Beth Tuttle and Martha Tilyard of METStrategies led an interactive session on innovation through organizational leadership. Exploring the theme more broadly, Aaron Gurwitz, Managing Director, Barclays Wealth CIO and the Head of Research, Economics and Strategy, gave a presentation on economic and investment trends and the impact they may have art museum finances over the next five years, and Margy Waller, from ArtsWave in Cincinnati, presented key elements of her organization’s research on public engagement with the arts and culture—and in particular the ramifications for how museums and other arts institutions can most effectively communicate about their activities to the wider public.

In addition to AAMD’s program of outside speakers, the meeting included a number of information-sharing sessions and meetings of committees and task forces, which are continuing work on on-going topics and issues. Outcomes and updates from the meeting include:

  • The admission of 8 new members, including: Don Bacigalupi, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Christopher J. Brownawell, Farnsworth Art Museum; Lynn Gumpert, Grey Art Gallery, New York University; Marilyn Laufer, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University; Kate Markert, Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens; Martin Sullivan, National Portrait Gallery; Michael Taylor, Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth; and Simone Wicha, Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin;
  • A plan to expand on AAMD’s annual Art Museum Day celebrations (part of International Museum Day, held every May 18th) through a program to collect and publish feedback from museum visitors across all participating museums;
  • AAMD’s ongoing planning for the redesign and relaunch of its website and its membership survey continues; it is expected that the survey mechanism will begin beta-testing this spring, with a goal of launching by summer;
  • Adoption of AAMD’s new graphic identity, designed by Pentagram’s Paula Scher, to be rolled-out later this year;
  • AAMD’s commitment to provide leadership training for newly appointed directors has lead to a one-day pilot program with the Center for Nonprofit Management, Kellogg School of Management in advance of AAMD’s Annual Meeting in Chicago;
  • AAMD and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) continue to seek funding for their joint collaboration to implement a pilot mentoring program for minority undergraduates interested in the museum field;
  • The Professional Issues Committee has drafted a succession planning document for review and approval by the AAMD Board;
  • The Education Committee announced an exhibition to be held by member museums at the US Department of Education in Washington, DC on May 12. The exhibition will feature works by K-12 students enrolled in museum programs.


Many current and emeritus members of AAMD attended two memorial services for members of the field known for their decades of devotion and service to the arts community. On Monday, January 16th, a service was held for Elaine McKeon, a long-time board member of SFMOMA who was instrumental in the museum’s 1995 expansion and in supporting the growth of its collection. On Wednesday, January 18th, a memorial service was held for John E. Buchanan Jr., the recently deceased director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and long-time member of AAMD.

AAMD selected San Francisco as the meeting site at the invitation of the five members in the area: Neal Benezra (SFMOMA); Lori Fogarty (Oakland Museum of California); Larry Rinder (University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive); Jay Xu (Asian Art Museum), and the late John E. Buchanan Jr. (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco). Events were hosted by all five institutions over the course of the meeting.

The Association of Art Museum Directors, representing 207 art museum directors in the US, Canada, and Mexico, promotes the vital role of art museums throughout North America and advances the profession by cultivating leadership and communicating standards of excellence in museum practice. Further information about AAMD’s professional practice guidelines and position papers is available at


Christine Anagnos / Alison Wade
Association of Art Museum Directors

Sascha Freudenheim / Elizabeth Chapman
Resnicow Schroeder Associates
212-671-5172 / 212-671-5159