Pérez Art Museum Miami Announces Search for New Director

Thom Collins heading to Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation after guiding PAMM’s successful move to new venue.

MIAMI — January 8, 2015 — Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is launching an international search for a director to replace Thom Collins, who will step down in March after guiding the museum’s successful move to a spectacular new waterfront venue, PAMM Board Chair Aaron Podhurst announced. Collins will become executive director and president of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

PAMM trustee Dennis Scholl, the vice president/arts for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will head the committee searching for the new director and Leann Standish, PAMM deputy director for external affairs, will serve as interim director following Collins’ departure.

In its opening year, the museum exceeded its key attendance and membership goals, with more than 300,000 visitors, compared with 60,000 annually at the previous venue. The museum has reached more than 70,000 students and children, with the largest art education program in Miami-Dade County, outside the school system, itself. PAMM’s new director will help the contemporary art museum develop a five-year strategic plan, Podhurst said.

“Thom’s leadership has been instrumental to our many successes, from the tremendous public response to the museum after its opening in Miami’s Museum Park, to the continued successes of our fundraising campaign and collection-building programs,” said Podhurst. “We congratulate him and are grateful that he has led the museum to a place of stability and strength from which we can continue to move forward.”

Collins’s departure comes a little more than a year after PAMM opened its new, Herzog and de Meuron-designed facility in Miami’s Museum Park on time, on budget and to international acclaim. The museum has grown its membership base to over 9,000 member households, generating in excess of $2.24 million in revenue. PAMM recently announced more than $6 million in cash gifts, bringing its capital campaign to more than 90 percent of goal, as well as significant new gifts to its permanent collection, some of which are currently on view at the museum through March 1, 2015, in the exhibition Beyond the Limited Life of Painting.

"The new director will have the opportunity to lead the most important visual arts institution in a city that has emerged as an internationally renowned cultural center,” said Scholl. "The success of the museum in all areas, from the building itself to record-breaking attendance and critically acclaimed exhibitions will allow us to attract excellent candidates to take the Pérez to the next level."

The international scope of the director search reflects Greater Miami’s diverse community and its pivotal geographic location at the crossroads of the Americas.  The city of Miami is home to a vibrant mix of cultures and traditions from across North America, the Caribbean, and South America, and PAMM has attracted tourists from more than 90 countries and all 50 states in just 12 months since opening.

Following the acclaimed run of Beatriz Milhazes: Jardim Botânico, the first major US retrospective on the Brazilian artist’s work organized by PAMM Chief Curator Tobias Ostander, which closes on January 11, PAMM will open the U.S. exclusive presentation of Tàpies: From Within on February 6. The exhibition explores the career of Spanish artist Antoni Tàpies and features 50 works from 1945 through 2011. The exhibition joins current and upcoming exhibitions on the work of Mario García Torres, Diego Bianchi, Victoria Gitman and Shana Lutker, among others, for the 2015 season.

“The support that this museum has received and the tremendous success it experienced in its opening year is testament to how important the arts are to this community,” said Collins. “Although I am sad to leave Miami, I proud that we have cemented the museum’s role as Miami’s flagship art museum, a leading U.S. institution, and an international art destination. I have seen an entire community come together to create something tremendous, and I am so grateful to have had the chance to be a part of it.”

The search committee for the new director will be Chairman Dennis Scholl; Vice-Chair Rose Ellen Greene; Jorge Perez; Jeff Krinsky; Susana Ibarguen; Dede Moss; Craig Robins; Carol Hall; Greg Ferrero; Walid Wahab; Gail Myers; and Aaron Podhurst.  

About PAMM:
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) promotes artistic expression and the exchange of ideas; advancing public knowledge and appreciation of art, architecture, and design; and reflecting the diverse community of its pivotal geographic location at the crossroads of the Americas. Designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, the facility opened in Downtown Miami’s Museum Park on December 4, 2013, is a state-of-the-art model for sustainable museum design and progressive programming. The facility features 200,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor program space with spacious galleries; shaded outdoor verandas; a waterfront restaurant and bar; a museum shop; and an education center with a library, media lab, and classroom spaces. For more information, please visit www.pamm.org, find us on Facebook (facebook.com/perezartmuseummiami), or follow us on Twitter (@pamm).

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Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Support is provided by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. Additional support is provided by the City of Miami and the Miami OMNI Community Redevelopment Agency (OMNI CRA). Pérez Art Museum Miami is an accessible facility. All contents ©Pérez Art Museum Miami. All rights reserved.

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