Staff Updates

Staff Updates – December 2011

On November 8, Dr. Graham C. Boettcher, The William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art attended a special preview at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, which opened to the public on November 11. This long-anticipated museum was the vision of Alice Walton, daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. The collection includes many iconic works including Asher B. Durand’s Kindred Spirits (1849) and Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter (1943).

The BMA is proud to announce its first grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, for a curatorial fellowship in African-American Art. Jeffreen M. Hayes, who begins her position as Mellon Fellow on January 16, has just completed her doctoral studies at the College of William and Mary in the American Studies program. Her specialty is contemporary African- American art and visual culture. Jeffreen has an extensive background in the arts. She worked for the federal art program Art-in-Architecture, housed under the U.S. General Services Administration, the National Gallery of Art, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Library of Congress, and Hampton University Museum as well as several other arts and non-profit institutions. Jeffreen has also published articles and essays on African-American art. She recently completed a fellowship at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York and a Swann Foundation Fellowship for Caricature and Cartoon at the Library of Congress.

Dr. Anne Forschler-Tarrasch, the Marguerite Jones Harbert and John M. Harbert III Curator of Decorative Arts, has been invited to lecture at a meeting of the Ima Hogg Ceramic Circle at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, on January 23. Anne will present an illustrated lecture about the Museum’s extensive collection of Wedgwood ceramics. In November, the Museum hosted the American Ceramic Circle’s annual symposium, which was a huge success. Anne, an ACC board member, organized the symposium and delivered a lecture on Wedgwood. More than 100 curators and collectors gathered at the BMA to enjoy an exciting and interesting lecture program, private collection visits, and intense discussion about a variety of ceramics.

Samantha Kelly, Curator of Education, has been selected to serve on the Exhibitions Committee for Vulcan Park and Museum.

Kristi Taft is the new Exhibitions Officer in the Curatorial Department. Kristi has been with the Museum for eleven years, the past ten as a Development Officer. In this new position Kristi will provide project management for temporary exhibitions and collection installations, and will advance the Museum’s traveling exhibition program. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Kristi holds a BA and MA in anthropology, with a focus on archaeology.

Kristi McMillan joined the Education Department in October filling the new position of Assistant Curator of Education for Visitor Engagement. Kristi earned her BA and MA in Art History at the Univerity of Virginia and has been working in the field of Museum Education for the last nine years. She will spearhead efforts in the development of an institutional plan for interpretation, lead the docent program, and work toward creating more visitor-centered Museum experiences.

Italian Doctoral Student Dario Zorza interned in the curatorial department this past fall. While at the Museum he completed his thesis for the University of Padua on the history of the Samuel H. Kress Collection of Italian art. He also researched the formation of the Kress collection at the BMA and how visitors understand these works today.

Dr. Donald A. Wood has been busy for the past several years working on the exhibition and catalogue for Dragons and Lotus Blossoms: Vietnamese Ceramics from the Birmingham Museum of Art. It is rewarding to see this project about a little known aspect of the Museum’s permanent collection come to fruition with the assistance of international scholars and important grants from several national and local foundations. Don gave a paper about the Vietnamese collection this past November at the American Ceramic Circle meeting held at the Museum. Don is also busy organizing a Museum sponsored trip to India for later this year.