A version of this story ran in Thursday’s The Oklahoman.
Museum excited about new leader
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art announced Wednesday that Glen Gentele has been appointed to head the museum, succeeding longtime director Carolyn Hill, who announced in January her intention to step down as president and chief executive officer at the end of the year.
Gentele was elected at Tuesday’s meeting of the board of trustees and will assume his duties on Jan. 1.
“As we move into a new era, it is with utmost confidence and enthusiasm that I announce the election of Glen Gentele as the new president and chief executive officer of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art,” said Frank Hill, chairman of the board of trustees. “Glen is an accomplished professional, who is an ardent advocate for the highest museum standards. His embrace of the museum’s vision and strategic goals assure that the Museum will continue to be guided by the same core values of integrity, quality, commitment, accountability, passion and resilience that have characterized the Museum’s stunning accomplishments since opening the new Donald W. Reynolds Visual Arts Center in March 2002.”
Gentele is currently the director of Laumeier Sculpture Park, one of the nation’s premiere open-air museums, in St. Louis, Mo. He also holds a joint appointment as the Aronson Endowed Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.
A native New Yorker, Gentele brings more than 15 years of museum and education experience to his new post, having served in important positions at The John and Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Fla., the International Sculpture Center in Washington, D.C., and the Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami. In addition to his professional museum appointments, he has taught at Florida International University and the Ringling School of Art and Design.
As director of Laumeier Sculpture Park since 2001, Gentele dramatically revived the artistic direction of the institution through exhibitions, the collection, and education and outreach initiatives. He organized many exhibitions with important international artists as well as several permanent collection exhibitions.
Gentele is credited with strengthening corporate, foundation, and individual support; growing the permanent collection through significant acquisitions; expanding public programs and educational opportunities; increasing visitation to more than 300,000 annually; and launching the first major capital campaign initiative for the organization in its history.
In response to Gentele’s appointment, Carolyn Hill said: “I have met with Glen and am convinced that he is the right person to lead the Museum in the future. I am impressed with Glen’s vision and passion for the arts as well as his strong commitment to continue to operate the museum in accordance with the highest standards of ethical and fiscal responsibility. I look forward to introducing Glen in the coming months to the leaders of our city and state and to our many wonderful donors and partners who have made our success possible.”
Gentele earned his bachelor of fine arts from the Florida State University and his master of fine arts degree from the Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore. He was also awarded a fellowship in the Core program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
In accepting his new position, Gentele commented: “I am thrilled to have been selected as the next president and chief executive officer of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. I have great respect and admiration for Carolyn Hill and am honored to carry on the legacy of excellence that she has established. This is an extraordinary opportunity and it will be a privilege to assume the leadership of such a fine institution. I am eager to work together with our supporters, board, staff and community to continue to advance the Museum locally, nationally and internationally.”
The national search for Carolyn Hill’s replacement began in January when she announced her plans to step down as leader of the museum at the end of this year. The search committee was composed of chairman Elby Beal, John Bozalis, Pete Delaney, Virginia Fox, Frank Hill, Leslie Hudson, Duke Ligon, Judy Love, James C. Meade and Frank Merrick.
Gentele will be joined in Oklahoma City by his wife, Shannon, a contemporary art curator and writer who has been active in the St. Louis arts community. He has a son who is a junior at Yale University.