Two national leaders in art education will join the director of the Toledo Museum of Art to discuss challenges facing their art museums and the future of art education during “Director Dialogue: In Conversation with Brian Kennedy” on March 9 at the Museum.
TMA’s Brian Kennedy, a well-known proponent of visual literacy, will be joined by panelists Gretchen Dietrich, executive director of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA), and Lori Fogarty, director and CEO of the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA).
The free program at 6 p.m. Thursday (March 9) in the Little Theater will explore the topic of art education today in light of the changing digital and social media environment, audience desire for experiences and the broadening concept of art itself.
Dietrich joined the UMFA staff in 2008 as director of public programs and curatorial affairs. She served as interim director from April 2009 until her appointment as executive director in August 2010. She was appointed to the board of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), a national organization representing 244 art museum directors, in 2015, and currently chairs its education committee.
UMFA, located on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, has more than 17,000 works of art representing different cultures, including African, Oceanic and the New World, Asian, European, American, and the Ancient and Classical World. The UMFA galleries, which are temporarily closed for remodeling and reinstallation, are scheduled to reopen later this year.
Fogarty became director of OMCA in March 2006. She previously served as director of the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito and spent 12 years at SFMOMA in multiple positions, including senior deputy director. A former education committee chair and current vice president of the Association of American Museum Directors, she will become president of the professional organization in July 2017.
When OMCA opened its doors over 40 years ago, it brought together three historically independent disciplines – art, history and natural sciences – under one roof. Its collections comprised more than 1.9 million objects, including seminal art works, historical artifacts, ethnographic objects, natural specimens and photographs, as well as displays and programs that explore the character and identity of California. Fogarty has led OMCA through a transformation aimed at strengthening its role as a public forum and creating new opportunities for visitor participation.
Kennedy, who will moderate the discussion, has been president, director and CEO of the Toledo Museum of Art since 2010. The Museum’s mission is art education, and he has overseen development of a strategic plan that strongly integrates TMA into the community, provides diverse exhibitions and programming while placing an emphasis on art education and visual literacy. At the same time, the Museum continues to add significant works of art to its collection of more than 30,000 objects.
Prior to leaving his native Ireland, Kennedy spent eight years as assistant director of the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin (1989-1997). He also served seven years as director of the National Gallery of Australia (1997-2004) in Canberra, and was director of Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, New Hampshire, from 2005 to 2010.
Kennedy is a past trustee and treasurer of the Association of Art Museum Directors, a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums and a member of the International Association of Art Critics. In 2003 he was awarded a Centenary of Federation medal by the Australian government for service to Australian society and its art. In 2013 he was appointed the inaugural eminent professor at the University of Toledo. More recently, Kennedy received the 2014 Northwest Region, Ohio Art Education Association award for distinguished educator for art education.
The Toledo Museum of Art is located at 2445 Monroe Street, one block off I-75 near downtown Toledo. Admission to the Museum is free. Parking is free for Museum members and $7 for nonmembers. For more information, visit toledomuseum.org or call 419-255-8000 or 800-644-6862.