Dear Members and Friends,
Today, I come to you with profound mixed emotions as I announce my departure from The Fralin Museum of Art. After six years as the Museum’s J. Sanford Miller Family Director, I have accepted the position of Director and CEO of the McNay Art Museum, the first modern art museum in Texas. My appointment in San Antonio will begin February 13.
Leading The Fralin has been a great honor and privilege. I have enjoyed partnering with my brilliant museum colleagues and you, our supporters and advocates, to usher the museum we love from success to success. I am proud of our deep commitment to embed diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in all that we do, and I look back with great pride on the strong, forward-thinking exhibitions and related programs that have made that possible.
Exhibitions such as Unexpected O’Keeffe: The Virginia Watercolors and Later Paintings, Vanessa German’s sometimes.we.cannot.be.with.our.bodies, Skyscraper Gothic, and Power Play: Reimagining Representation in Contemporary Photography have drawn the attention of our local audiences and the national media. Projects like these have dramatically increased museum attendance and expanded the viewership of initiatives serving both UVA and the wider communities. We have also added important voices to the collection, including Zanele Muholi, Cara Romero, Laura Aguilar, Wendy Red Star, Sam Gilliam, and others. With these acquisitions, more audiences see themselves reflected in our galleries.
Leading The Fralin’s dedicated and innovative team in the face of a global pandemic will stand as a singular moment in my museum career. As the museum was forced to close to protect the health and safety of those in our community, my Fralin colleagues ensured art would continue to be available when we needed it the most. Because of their ingenuity, programs that are key to our museum’s community service—Writer’s Eye, Family Art JAMS, Early Visions, Student Docents, and more—continued and thrived. They created approaches that will remain potent long into the future.
This past year, owing to the strengths of a remarkable, dedicated, and professional museum staff, The Fralin was re-accredited for ten years, demonstrating that we lead at the highest standards of our industry.
I am thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such an outstanding institution and to call Charlottesville home. When I moved to this wonderful community six years ago, I was immediately struck by the genuine kindness and welcome extended by everyone I met. That warmth has only grown stronger, and I am grateful for how supported my partner, Townes, and I have always felt here.
Finally, I want to offer my deepest thanks to Jody Kielbasa—the leader of UVA Arts, Vice Provost for the Arts, and Director of the Virginia Film Festival. Beyond his role as a manager, Jody has been an inspirational and generous colleague as we have expanded the work of the museum. I know that Jody will be a vigorous and committed collaborator with my successor, the staff of The Fralin, and all of you.
Thank you for the last six years. The Fralin, UVA, and Charlottesville will always have a special place in my heart. Please know that you will have a passionate advocate and ally in Texas.
With deep gratitude,
Former J. Sanford Miller Family Director