Art Museum Announces New Director
Internationally known museum director, author and educator tapped as Art Museum’s eighth director
CINCINNATI (Aug. 29, 2006)– The Cincinnati Art Museum announced today the appointment of Aaron Betsky as director. The Art Museum selected Betsky, currently director of the world’s largest architecture museum, from a field of several dozen national and international candidates. Betsky is expected to begin work at the Art Museum in mid-November.
The new director brings a strong combination of management, development and scholarship experience to the Cincinnati Art Museum. For the past 5 years, Betsky served as director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, where he managed a significant renovation of the museum’s building and the creation of a satellite branch. During his tenure, he significantly increased the museum’s budget and quadrupled the amount of educational activities. In addition, he launched an international traveling exhibition program that doubled the number of visitors to exhibitions and widened the overall exhibitions program to include art and design along with architecture.
Prior to his work abroad, Betsky was a curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
“Aaron Betsky has spent his career working to connect people with art and architecture so that individuals can understand and appreciate more fully the world in which they live. We look forward to Aaron serving as the Cincinnati Art Museum’s next great leader,” said J. Philip Vollmer, president of the board of the Cincinnati Art Museum.
Betsky joins the Art Museum during a significant time in its history. This year marks the 125th anniversary of the Art Museum’s founding, a milestone reached by only 6% of all museums in the country. Founded as a center of Cincinnati’s cultural community, it continues in this capacity today with many new initiatives underway. For example, the Art Museum’s Board of Trustees recently approved a 20-year facilities master plan that calls for a transformational expansion to open up the collection to the community in unprecedented ways.
We selected Aaron based on his range of experience leading major projects, from audience development to building renovation and expansion,” said Vollmer. “He will be a strong leader for the Art Museum as we undertake expanded initiatives in community engagement and realize our facilities master plan in the coming years.”
Betsky is a prolific writer and editor with a dozen books and magazines to his credit, from The New York Times to Metropolitan Home. Currently, he is chairman of the International Sculpture Collection in Rotterdam, which manages an important collection of outdoor artwork. Betsky also has served as a visiting professor at major universities across the United States and received honors from the British Institute of Architects and the American Institute of Architects. He holds a bachelor’s degree in the history of of a arts and l letters and a master’s degree in architecture from Yale University. He is a doctoral candidate at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands.
Originally from Missoula, Montana and raised in the Netherlands, Betsky has previously spent time in Cincinnati. From 1983 to 1985, he taught at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Architecture and Interior Design. In addition, he served on the architect selection committee for the Contemporary Arts Center’s new building in 1998.
The position of director at
the Cincinnati Art Museum became vacant in April 2006 when the previous
director accepted a position as director of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Interim co-directors have led the Art Museum since that time.