Gail Andrews served as R. Hugh Daniel Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art from 1996 until 2017. Upon her retirement in 2017, she was named Director Emerita of the Birmingham Museum of Art. She first joined the Museum in 1976 as Curator of Decorative Arts, subsequently serving as Assistant Director and Acting Director.
Andrews graduated from the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, and received her Master’s degree from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, New York. She also attended the Winterthur Institute at the Winterthur Museum and the Attingham Summer School in England where she pursued further studies in decorative arts.
An acknowledged authority on folk art and textiles, she has written numerous articles and catalogues including Black Belt to Hill Country: Alabama Made Quilts; Southern Quilts: A New View, quilt and needlework chapters for Made in Alabama: A State Legacy, the introduction to the book Revelations: Alabama’s Visionary Folk Artists, and edited and contributed essays to Pictured in My Mind: Contemporary American Self-Taught Art.
As Director, Andrews has overseen several groundbreaking exhibitions and helped establish the Birmingham Museum of Art as an important presenter of works rarely seen in America, including Kamisaka Sekka: Rimpa Master & Pioneer of Modern Design, the first retrospective of the artist, and the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Drawings from the Biblioteca Reale in Turin which brought 11 rarely seen drawings by Leonardo to Birmingham as well as his Codex on the Flight of Birds, its first presentation in the U.S. The Museum also has hosted sought-after traveling exhibitions, including Matisse from the Baltimore Museum of Art and Pompeii: Tales from an Eruption, which drew nearly 100,000 visitors from around the country. In 2013, the Museum organized an ambitious series of exhibitions and programs commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement. One of the commissions, The Birmingham Project was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
A passionate believer in the transformative role of museums in the cultural life of the community, Andrews is actively involved in a variety of arts and educational organizations locally, regionally, and nationally. She was a member of the 1983 Leadership Birmingham class, a member of the 1997-98 Leadership Alabama program, and is a member of the Alabama Academy of Honor, the Rotary Club of Birmingham and the President’s Cabinet at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In 2007-08, she served as President of the Association of Art Museum Directors.