June 8, 2016 – Korn Ferry has recruited Dr. Marcelle Polednik as director of the Milwaukee Art Museum. She succeeds Dan Keegan, who is retiring this month.
Naree Viner led the assignment along with Charles Ingersoll, co-leader of Korn Ferry’s non-profit search practice. Ms. Viner is an expert in museum leadership recruitment and has placed directors in the last six months at Harvard Art Museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Menil Collection and the Museum of the City of New York. She is currently working on director searches for the Clark Institute in Williamstown, MA and the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago.
Dr. Polednik joins the museum at a significant time in its history after an extensive $34 million renovation, reinstallation and expensive project, and the historic acquisition of the O’Donnell property. She was selected after a robust national search from a field of dozens of candidates. Dr. Polednik was hails from the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville where she served as director and chief curator.
“Following a year of transformative and groundbreaking projects, the Milwaukee Art Museum is embarking on a period of tremendous growth and opportunity. Our board sought a candidate who recognized that momentum, and could build on it and take the institution to the next level,” said Don Layden, president of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s board of trustees. “Marcelle is forward-thinking, bright and innovative, and we’re thrilled she’s coming to Milwaukee.”
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Dr. Polednik brings extensive experience to the museum. At MOCA Jacksonville, she redefined the museum’s artistic vision and mission, shifting the emphasis from traveling exhibitions to self-curated projects, which now comprise nearly all of the museum’s artistic initiatives. Under her leadership, the museum’s exhibition program grew in both number and stature. Prior to her position at MOCA Jacksonville, Dr. Polednik was chief curator at the Monterey Museum of Art. She was also previously an assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
The Milwaukee Art Museum collects and preserves art, presenting it to the community as a vital source of inspiration and education. It has 30,000 works in-house and receives 400,000-plus visitors a year. From its roots in Milwaukee’s first art gallery in 1888, the it has grown today to be an icon for Milwaukee and a resource for the entire state.
Museums, of course, are no strangers to executive search firms. Many now turn to specialists in the field to help fill their senior leadership roles. Here’s a recent sampling taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media newswire archives:
- Russell Reynolds Associates recruited John S. Bacon as president of historic house museum Stratford Hall;
- Battalia Winston has been retained by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) to lead its search for a new vice president and controller;
- Museum Search & Reference placed Min Jung Kim as director at the New Britain Museum of American Art;
- Russell Reynolds Associates recruited John Stomberg as director of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College;
- Phillips Oppenheim, an executive search firm dedicated to the non-profit sector, recruited Salvador Salort-Pons as director, president and CEO of the Detroit Institute of Arts;
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media