Judith Dolkart, the current Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art, was recently appointed as the Deputy Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). She will leave the Addison this winter to take on the role.[a] Allison Kemmerer, Mead Curator of Photography and Senior Curator of American Art at the Addison, will serve as interim Director in Dolkart’s absence until a search committee determines the finalized replacement.
Historically, the school hires an executive search firm to advertise the Director position opening and to recruit candidates. The top candidates are then interviewed by a search committee of the Addison staff and advisory board, Andover faculty and alumni, and the Head of School. As such, the search for a new Director will not commence until the official Head of School has been finalized.
Since its opening in 1931, the Addison has had seven directors: Charles Sawyer, Class of 1921, from 1931-1940; Bartlett H. Hayes Jr, Class of 1922, from 1940-1968; Christopher Cook, from 1968-1989; Jock Reynolds ’65 from 1989-1998; Adam Weinberg from 1999-2003; Brian Allen from 2004-2013; and Judith Dolkart from 2014-present. According to Kemmerer, each director had a specific and unique vision of the museum.
Kemmerer wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Each of these individuals had particular interests and strengths but all have steadily built on the legacy of their predecessors with the goal of continuing to develop the permanent collection at the highest standard; broaden and strengthen the education and community outreach programs; support and encourage living artists through a residency program; make accessible the arts for [Andover] students as well as local and regional schools; and strengthen the museum’s visibility and scholarly contributions to national and international audiences.”
As interim Director, Kemmerer aims to revitalize Dolkart’s policies and bring programming changes to the museum.
“As interim director, I hope to continue and build on the good work accomplished under Judith’s leadership. During her tenure, the Addison has worked hard to become an integral part of the [Andover] community as well as expand its reach in the larger community through its rich holdings, dynamic exhibitions, innovative educational programs, and lively artist-in-residence program,” wrote Kemmerer.
Kemmerer continued, “I wish to keep the momentum going by … adding new [projects] that further the Addison’s mission as a teaching museum and resource for exploring the richness and diversity of the human experience through art.”
Emiliano Caceres-Manzano ’22 is a part of the Addison Community Ambassadors, a group of Andover students who provide aid in the process of organizing public showcase and activities at the museum. He hopes the new official curator will construct exhibits that include pieces connected to the Andover community.
Caceres-Manzano said, “I hope that a new curator brings in a unique point of view to the museum and plenty of interesting exhibits… The Ambassadors build most of their programming around the exhibits, so I’d love to have a curator who develops exhibits that we can use to help connect with the community and that contain themes that we can use to start interesting conversations.”
Jamie Gibbons, Head of Education at the Addison, believes that the search committee will value candidates that share a similar ideology of promoting boldness and novelty.
“I am sure that when a search for the next Addison Director begins, the search committee will also be looking for someone excited to push the Addison forward in exhibition design and educational practice,” said Gibbons.
Megan Cui ’21 and Kate MacLeod ’20, both Addison Ambassadors, are excited to see the Addison flourish and branch out to more parts of the student body in the future, even after Dolkart’s departure.
In an email to The Phillipian, Cui wrote, “[The Addison] truly is a wonderful place, and I think it would be great if more people got to know the amazing artworks and dynamic relationships that exist within the museum. Currently, the Woman of Wonder and Man of Steel exhibition is, in my opinion, spectacular, but most of my friends are oblivious of its existence… This would be an amazing goal for the entire Addison community to work on.”
MacLeod added, “I hope that the creativity behind the exhibits at the Addison continues—we’ve had some lovely exhibitions in the past few years, and we have a lot of great art at the museum. I hope that the new curator continues making the museum an amazing place to be in.”