CINCINNATI, OH.- The Taft Museum of Art
announced the appointment of Deborah Emont Scott as museum director and chief executive officer. Scott, who will begin work at the Taft on November 9, will be the museum's sixth director in its 77-year history.
Scott was recently chief curator at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO, a post she held since 1998. Prior to that she served as the Sanders Sosland Curator of Twentieth Century Art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum.
As chief curator overseeing a staff of 24 professionals, Scott has extensive experience in all aspects of curatorial work and museum management from interpreting permanent collections to planning and selecting major exhibitions to developing educational outreach programs. An expert in contemporary art with a deep appreciation of earlier periods, Scott organized numerous exhibitions while curator of twentieth century art at the Nelson-Atkins, including those featuring artists Louise Bourgeois, Julian Schnabel and Gerhard Richter.
During her tenure, Scott played a leadership role in a major expansion and renovation of the Nelson-Atkins, which included the Bloch Building designed by architect Steven Holl. She also served as project director of the development of the 22-acre Kansas City Sculpture Park that surrounds the museum, helping to transform the Nelson-Atkins campus.
"Given her professionalism and extensive curatorial, programming and fundraising experience in the setting of an important Midwestern museum, Deborah is an ideal choice to lead the Taft," said Paul Chellgren, chairman of the Taft's board of directors. Chellgren led a search committee comprising representatives of the board of directors, docents, staff and other museum constituencies. After an extensive search process that began in March, the committee returned a unanimous vote in favor of Scott last week.
"It is an honor and privilege to lead one of America's finest small museums," said Scott. "With its world-renowned collection, its outstanding architecture and gardens and its award-winning educational programs, the Taft Museum of Art plays a key role in the cultural landscape of Cincinnati and the Tristate. My family and I look forward to joining this wonderful community."
"Deborah is a rare combination of capable administrator and empathetic curator," said Richard Armstrong, director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. "Her respect for the collection will be perfectly complemented by her ongoing curiosity about the work of living artists."
A graduate of Livingston College of Rutgers University, Scott worked at the Allen Memorial Art Museum while in graduate school at Oberlin College (Ohio), where she earned a master's degree in history of art. She has also worked at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art where she was curator and acting director. A frequent panelist for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Scott is also a graduate of the Getty Leadership Institute.
"In Deborah Scott, Cincinnati is gaining a proven leader who will value the unique characteristics of the Taft as she brings new vigor and strong artistic vision to a beloved institution," said Marc F. Wilson, the Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell Director/CEO of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. "She has faith in the power of art and in the accessibility to all of enriching, enjoyable experiences with works of art. She is enviably positioned for her new assignment, having served as a key member here at the Nelson-Atkins of a team that prizes innovation, excellence and achievement."
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art opened in 1933, one year after the Taft Museum of Art. The Museum is home to European and American master paintings, an extensive collection of Asian art and the Kansas City Sculpture Park. The Bloch building opened in 2005 and holds the Museum's contemporary, African, photography and special exhibitions galleries.