Norman Rockwell Museum expands senior leadership and innovation plans

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Norman Rockwell Museum expands senior leadership and innovation plans
Sue Elliott - Chief Audience Officer. Photo: Hillary Scott.

STOCKBRIDGE, MASS.- Norman Rockwell Museum announced the recent addition of new executive positions. The talent joining the existing Museum leadership invites the opportunity to build forward to serve audiences in new and broader ways as the Museum emerges from the ongoing pandemic. Joining the team is Sue Elliott, appointed to the Museum’s newly created position of Chief Audience Officer; she will oversee the new Audience Engagement division. Elliott joins recently appointed staff Alyssa Blumenthal, the new Director of Public Operations and Visitor Engagement, and Chris Kupernik, Director of Facilities and Safety.

“These exemplary leaders with diverse experience and new perspectives from beyond the museum world, join forces with our accomplished professional team to play integral roles in ongoing strategic development, equity, access, inclusion, and innovation at NRM,” said Director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt.

Organizational Growth

As the Museum strives to meet future goals, which includes a strong commitment to increasing access and digital engagement, the organization has reorganized around serving audiences with enhanced research and data analysis. During the pandemic, participation by new audiences grew exponentially with web-based programs and events, reaching new international audiences and expanding civic engagement. A key element to this growth is balancing resources devoted to onsite exhibitions and programming with the opportunity to engage world-wide audiences through online offerings.

NRM’s new Chief Audience Officer, Sue Elliott, will work with curatorial, digital, visitor, and education teams and local, national, and international collaborators to transform the way in which the Museum creates programming that engages people of all ages through in-person and online activities and events. By developing relevant content and planning structures, and providing integrated experiences for contemporary audiences, the Museum aims to increase access and broaden its reach across the US and around the world. Elliott remarked “I am honored to join NRM at this pivotal time, continuing my life’s work of bringing people together to create a more civil society through shared artistic experiences. By expanding and diversifying our engagement efforts for both in-person and online visitors of all ages, in the Berkshires and around the world, and reconsidering the ways in which we build community, NRM looks boldly forward to greater connectivity and impact in the future. I look forward to collaborating with illustrators, curators, educators, and our current and future audiences for many years to come.”

A new Audience Engagement division will incorporate and build on the outstanding work that Rich Bradway has led for six years as Director of Digital Learning & Engagement. Bradway’s role will expand to that of Digital Innovation Officer. This larger, dedicated digital arm of the Museum will incorporate additional technology, data, and digital production support. Museum is currently seeking to hire a Technology Coordinator.

Additional Information

Alyssa Blumenthal - Director of Public Operations and Visitor Engagement

In her role as Director of Public Operations and Visitor Engagement, Alyssa Blumenthal leads the Museum’s efforts to deliver an exceptional level of guest service, supporting programming that advances the Museum’s commitment to being inclusive, equitable, friendly, and welcoming to people of all ages and backgrounds. Prior to joining the Museum, Blumenthal held various hospitality leadership roles in restaurants and event venues throughout MA & CT. Blumenthal relocated from Chicago to Amherst, MA to attend Hampshire College, studying fine arts as a therapeutic tool.

Sue Elliott - Chief Audience Officer

One of North America’s most innovative arts educators, Sue Elliott joins the Museum from her current position as the inaugural director of the Tanglewood Learning Institute at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Prior to joining the BSO in 2018, she launched and led the world’s first online professional development, certificate, and accreditation program for private music teachers around the world at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada. Through her unique approach to multi/interdisciplinary programming, Elliott has led efforts to expand and diversify audiences at the BSO, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Educated at McGill University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Southern California, she also holds certificates in education, leadership, and arts and cultural strategy.

Chris Kupernik - Director of Facilities and Safety

Chris Kupernik joined Norman Rockwell Museum in November 2021 as Director of Facilities and Safety. Kupernik was an Estate Manager for a large private property and also served as Facilities and Grounds Manager at Berkshire Botanical Garden where he was responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the buildings, grounds, and equipment. He also held a long tenure of nearly 11 years at Blantyre, a luxury hotel in Lenox, assisting in the maintenance and security of the historic gilded age property.

Laurie Tang - Executive Assistant to the Director/CEO

Laurie Tang, Executive Assistant to the Director/CEO, joined NRM in May 2021. Tang is responsible for managing and supporting the work of the Director’s Office/CEO, the Board of Trustees, and key patron and donor relationships with the Museum. Prior to joining the team, Tang was the Rooms Division Manager at Blantyre, a Relais and Châteaux luxury hotel, in Lenox. Tang graduated from University of Massachusetts Amherst with degrees in Hospitality and Tourism Management as well as Chinese Language and Literature.

Curatorial Department Promotions

Following the departure of Collections and Operations Director Martin Mahoney, who became the Director of the Bennington Museum in September 2021, a series of promotions were awarded including:

Thomas Mesquita – Director of Collections and Exhibitions; Jana Purdy – Curatorial Project Coordinator; Barbara Rundback – Registrar; Joe Tonetti – Exhibitions Manager; Maria Tucker – Curatorial Intern; and Venus Van Ness – Archivist/Curatorial Information Manager. The curatorial team continues to be led by Deputy Director/Chief Curator Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, a 27-year veteran at NRM.

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