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Staff Updates

/ Staff Updates

After seven years as the BMA’s Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Ron Platt, decided to pursue an entirely new career path. Ron’s contributions to the BMA have been numerous. He has mined our collection with a consistently astute, deep, and broad approach, introducing our visitors to works that have not been displayed for many years; and his installations were always thoughtfully conceived and visually provocative. Ron has also made the BMA a welcoming place to many local artists through exhibitions and acquisitions. He has left a strong curatorial mark through the acquisitions he has negotiated, the most obvious and recent of which is Kerry James Marshall’s School of Beauty, School of Culture (2012). Ron’s departure came at a time of great achievement: the opening of Dawoud Bey: The Birmingham Project, which was thanks to his curatorial vision. The Museum is now in the process of interviewing for our next Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Graham C. Boettcher, PhD., The William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art, has been chosen as one of twelve curators from around the world to participate in the 2014 fellowship program of the Center for Curatorial Leadership, a non-profit organization that trains curators for leadership positions. Boettcher was also recently asked to speak at TEDxBirmingham, a local, independently organized offshoot of the global TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences, which aims to promote positive thinking and highlight ideas from leaders in the Birmingham community. The conference will be held on March 1, 2014, at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center, Visit for more information.

In September, Anne Forschler-Tarrasch, PhD., the Marguerite Jones Harbert and John M. Harbert III Curator of Decorative Arts, was invited to attend the third biennial conference on decorative cast iron, held in Berlin, Germany. The conference is designed to bring together curators, collectors, and antiques dealers to discuss recent developments in the field of cast-iron research. The BMA is home to one of the largest collections of European decorative cast iron in the world. In 2009, Anne published a comprehensive catalogue of the Museum’s collection.

Deputy Director and Chief Curator Jeannine O’Grody, PhD. traveled to London for MuseumIdeas 2013, a conference on museum innovation with sessions by leading museum visionaries from sixteen countries. Topics ranged from organizational resilience and transformational opportunities to online initiatives and deepening connections with visitors. With 200 delegates in attendance, a lot of networking took place! O’Grody has already established connections with colleagues from the British Museum and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

At the annual Alabama Art Education Association (AAEA) conference in October, Curator of Education Samantha Kelly was honored with the state award of Museum Educator of the Year. Kelly begins her two-year term as Museum Division Representative for AAEA in January. Associate Curator of Education Suzy Harris co-presented the workshop Trees! Trees! Trees! Integrating Fractions, Drawing, Painting, and Writing with Jefferson County Schools Visual Arts Supervisor Stacia Jacks. Harris is the incoming Treasurer for AAEA.

In November, Artist-in-Residence Toby H. Richards attended the 76th Annual Conference for Community Art Education in Chicago, Illinois, with more than 650 arts education leaders from more than 350 organizations nationwide. The conference focused on developing new skills and building new relationships with top practitioners and experts. It also inspired new ideas for how to lead more effectively, advance your organization,  and increase access to arts education for all.

In November, Assistant Curator of Education for Visitor Engagement Kristi McMillan and Director of Photography and Visual Resources Sean Pathasema attended the 41st Annual Museum Computer Network conference in Montreal, Quebec. This year’s conference addressed current trends among cultural institutions to reexamine what they do and to find new and innovative ways to accomplish goals, from online exhibitionsand digitization practice to audience evaluation.

Preparators Rashid Qandil and Priscilla Tapio recently attended the 2013 Preparators Conference at the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies in Mount Carroll, Illinois. Sponsored by PACCIN, a professional network of the American Alliance of Museums, the conference included lectures on exhibition and installation planning, display design and fabrication, as well as workshops on art storage techniques,crating, and rigging.