Much has been said about the Pink Wave washing over Congress, but what about in the arts? This week, two museums announced major changes to their leadership that might mark the beginning of a transformation in Washington’s cultural sector.
The National Gallery of Art announced on Tuesday that it’s hired its first female director in the 77 years since its founding. Kaywin Feldman has been a powerhouse in the arts world for years: Before her ten-year stint as director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, she was director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Tennessee, and took her first job directing a museum at the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science at the age of 28. She’ll be replacing the retiring Earl “Rusty” Powell III on March 11, 2019.
Anthea M. Hartig
Two days later, the Smithsonian announced that Anthea M. Hartig, executive director and CEO of the California Historical Society (CHS), will take over as the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the National Museum of American History on February 18, 2019. In the next two years, she’s slated to open three exhibitions as part of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative #BecauseOfHerStory: “All, Work, No Pay,” which examines why women are expected to do all the housework; “Creating Icons: How We Remember Women’s Suffrage,” commemorating the achievements of the suffragettes; and “Girlhood! (It’s Complicated)”, a survey on how girls have influenced social and cultural change. Hartig has been credited with raising more than $20 million for the CHS, quadrupling its budget, doubling its staff, and launching a digital archive of the collection.