Art Institute Appoints Judith Russi Kirshner as Deputy Director for Education, Woman's Board Endowed Chair

January 15
7:56 2013

Art Institute Appoints Judith Russi Kirshner as Deputy Director for Education, Woman's Board Endowed Chair

The Art Institute of Chicago has announced the appointment of Judith Russi Kirshner as the museum's new Deputy Director for Education and Woman's Board Endowed Chair following a national search. In this newly created position, Kirshner will evaluate all of the museum's educational efforts, collaborations, and partnership programs, and work across the museum and the city to shape a future-oriented and holistic approach to education, outreach, programs, and audiences. Kirshner's appointment reflects a renewed and systematic effort on the part of the Art Institute to expand the museum's audience, enrich the experience of all visitors, and improve access to the museum's renowned collections and exhibitions. She will assume her new position at the Art Institute on March 1, 2013.

"I am thrilled to welcome Judith to the Art Institute," said Douglas Druick, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the museum. "Like all other cultural organizations, the Art Institute finds itself in the midst of enormous cultural change, which is reflected in learning styles, models of access to information, and the nature of education itself. It is critical to the museum and its mission that we adapt to these changes and serve as a leader in redefining the role of 'museum education' with a known educational innovator at the helm. Judith is a well respected art historian, curator, author, and educator, and she brings to the museum not only decades of professional accomplishments in the arts but also a deep knowledge of and engagement with the city, visionary ideas, a collaborative spirit, and vast administrative experience at a major Chicagoland institution, where she has been rightly recognized for her creativity and achievements. We are all looking forward to working closely with Judith in the years to come to transform the Art Institute for its 21st-century visitors."

The Department of Museum Education currently serves a diverse range of constituents and purposes, including teacher education programs and curricula development; school programs for approximately 300,000 students per year; weekly family activities; and adult education programs that range from daily gallery talks and lectures to symposia, seminars, and performances. The department is responsible for hundreds of programs and events per year, both inside the museum and throughout Chicagoland via multiple partnerships, tied to both the Permanent Collection and approximately 30 special exhibitions every year. Given the broad reach of the Department of Museum Education, Kirshner will play a central role in redefining the experience of the museum for all visitors. She will work closely with museum curators in producing programs and interpretive content, develop the museum's schedule for performances and concerts, forge new partnerships both inside the museum and School of the Art Institute as well as reach locally and nationally outside the institution, and integrate new models of thought about education into all activities at the museum.

"I am very pleased to join the Art Institute and its remarkable staff in this exciting opportunity to reimagine programs, enhance and expand dialogues within the large cultural community of Chicago, and engage multiple audiences in innovative models of learning and interpretative experiences for the future," said Kirshner. "Such educational challenges provide a foundation for dynamic collaborations in learning, and I look forward to being a part of an institution embracing these challenges and creatively moving ahead."

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