Judith Dolkart Appointed New Director of Addison

Judith Dolkart, Deputy Director of Art and Archival Collections and Gund Family Chief Curator at The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was announced as the next Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art on Wednesday. Dolkart was chosen by a search committee that included several Andover teachers, Andover Board of Trustees members, Addison staff members and members of the Addison Board of Governors. “We are delighted to welcome Judith to Phillips Academy and the Addison community. She stood out among an exceptional group of candidates from across the country. Judith is an accomplished curator and educator who believes deeply in visual literacy, cross-media learning and the power of art to engage, persuade and provide transformative experiences,” said Head of School John Palfrey in an email to The Phillipian. Nile Blunt, Instructor of History and member of the Search Committee, said, “Ms. Dolkart stood out from other candidates because of her diverse interests, her excellent training and experience and her many interesting and innovative ideas for running the Addison… I think that she will bring energy, enthusiasm and innovation to our community as a whole. I know that she is very excited about coming to Phillips Academy and I think that she will be a wonderful addition.” After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1989, Dolkart earned an A.B. in fine arts in 1993 from Harvard-Radcliffe College where she researched Frank Stella ’54 for her thesis. Four years later, she received an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where she is now a Ph.D. candidate in the history of art. She specializes in the art and culture of 19th-century France, but her knowledge extends to a diverse range of American and European artists. Dolkart led a variety of endeavors at The Barnes Foundation, including coordinating moving the art collection to a new location in Philadelphia, as well as supervising the publication of several books and overseeing the creation of an audio guide and a family tour program. “I think that she will bring a great energy and commitment to teaching and learning, to crossing disciplinary connections, to creating avenues for approaching art and learning about art that will be very exciting. Part of her job [at The Barnes Foundation] has been to create programs and engagements with the variety of populations in Philadelphia, where the museum is, and I think that’s the kind of thing she’ll do here,” said Susan Faxon, Interim Director of the Addison. Dolkart was selected from a pool of nearly 100 initial candidates that was narrowed down to six semi-finalists, then three finalists. During her application process, Dolkart met with the search committee, the staff at the Addison and a few select students. “During the interviews, Ms. Dolkart expressed the view that ‘every graduating PA student should walk away with a memory of the Addison.’ Besides supporting the Addison’s existing programming, she looks forward to developing a dynamic, nimble approach to adding small, accessible exhibits in response to contemporary issues, using items in the Addison’s collection to engage students and other museum audiences in discourse. She identified last year’s [Boston] Marathon bombings as the type of event which might engender this approach,” said Nancy Jeton, Special Assistant to the Head of School, who coordinated the search. “The recent completion of the Addison’s $30-million campaign, which included growth to the endowment and a beautiful renovation and expansion project under the directorship of Brian Allen, sets up an exciting future. We have full confidence that Judith’s leadership will help us to further strengthen all facets of the Addison, including its vast collection, its integration with PA’s academic program and its partnerships within and beyond the Merrimack Valley,” said Palfrey in an email.