At the metro area’s cherished Saint Louis Art Museum, the winds of change are blowing with gale force.
More specifically, according to a mid-September press release from the museum, Brent R. Benjamin intends to leave its directorship in mid-2021 after serving in that capacity for more than two decades.
The museum’s board of commissioners, the release states, has commenced the process of selecting Benjamin’s replacement. To ensure a smooth transition, he will remain as director throughout that process.
Benjamin, who currently also serves as president of New York’s Association of Art Museum Directors, became the museum’s director in 1999 and, since then, has enjoyed considerable acclaim. “Brent has led the Saint Louis Art Museum through two of the most successful decades in our 140-plus-year history,” Charles Lowenhaupt, president of the museum’s board of commissioners, states in the release.
“He built a world-class staff that has elevated our reputation as a top-tier art museum nationally and internationally, and he burnished our standing as a crown jewel among St. Louis cultural institutions.”
The release cites manifold achievements under Benjamin as director: a significant enhancement of its collection, a world-class expansion on Art Hill in Forest Park, a record-setting capital campaign, two of the five best-attended exhibitions in the museum’s history, enhanced engagement among diverse segments of the metro area and a fellowship program that’s increased minority professionals in the museum field.
“I want to express my gratitude to the St. Louis community for embracing me from the start, to our donors and members for continually stepping up to provide the support required to advance and sustain our museum as an enduring treasure, to our boards for providing a consistent strength of governance and, especially, to our staff, who made possible all of our achievements over these past two decades,” Benjamin states in the release.
“We – and the St. Louis community – owe Brent a debt of gratitude for his inspiring leadership over his two-plus decades as director,” Lowenhaupt states in the release. “It is the commission’s job now to identify a new director who can build on Brent’s achievements and successfully lead the museum into our next era.”
Saint Louis Art Museum, One Fine Arts Drive, St. Louis, 314-721-0072, slam.org
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