MEMPHIS, TN.- Kaywin Feldman, director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, has accepted a position at the prestigious Minneapolis Institute of Arts, one of the ten largest museums in the country. She will step down as director of the Brooks in mid-December.
Ms. Feldman, 41, has served as director at the Brooks since 1999 and has been instrumental in making the museum the vibrant organization it is today. "It is with decidedly mixed emotions that I announce my departure from the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts at the end of the year," Ms. Feldman said. "It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as the director of the Brooks over the last nine years."
During her tenure, Ms. Feldman played a key role in bringing world-class exhibitions to the museum, from Scottish Treasures: Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Scotland in 2001 and Masterpieces from an English Country House: The Fitzwilliam Collection in 2006, to the nationally acclaimed The Quilts of Gee's Bend in 2005 and the upcoming Pissarro: Creating the Impressionist Landscape.
In her nine years at the museum, Ms. Feldman has overseen the acquisition of a number of important works, ranging from 17th century Dutch paintings by Roelof Koets and Jan Lievens to the iconic Vide-O-belisk by contemporary artist Nam June Paik. She also increased the museum's regional art collection with a gift from AutoZone, Inc. in 2001 and with the additions of work by artists William Christenberry, Red Grooms, Greely Myatt, and the Nonconnah potters. Ms. Feldman was also influential in expanding the African American art collection to include works from artists Willie Cole, Carrie Mae Weems, Chakaia Booker, Whitfield Lovell, and Ernest Withers.
In addition to enhancing the Brooks' collection and enriching the exhibition programming, under Ms. Feldman's direction the museum's annual attendance increased by thirty-five percent and membership tripled in number. The budget has also doubled from $2.4 million to $5.2 million, and the museum has generated operating surpluses for the last four years. She is also currently serving as Secretary of the board of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD).
Board of Trustees President Mike Fryt said of Ms. Feldman's departure, "We are sorry to see her go. Kaywin has truly been an asset to the Brooks and has worked tirelessly to strengthen the museum's reputation. She will be missed, but we are extremely happy for the fantastic opportunity that she has to serve at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts."
The museum's board is forming a search committee to begin looking for a new director. "It's an exciting time for us right now with a wealth of outstanding exhibitions coming to the museum," said Fryt of the museum's future. "We are moving ahead with the museum's exciting plans for growth, and because of Kaywin's hard work, the museum is well positioned to attract strong leadership. I am confident that our search committee will find an excellent candidate to fill Kaywin's shoes. Meanwhile, we wish her the very best."
Ms. Feldman has left a significant legacy in her nine years at the Brooks, and will continue to feel strongly about her tenure here. "The museum is fortunate to have a talented and dedicated staff and board and I will very much miss them as friends and colleagues," she said. "I am passionate about Memphis and will continue to promote the city and its lively arts scene. I look forward to hearing about the Brooks Museum's expanded success in the years ahead."
Established in 1912, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is the oldest and largest art museum in Tennessee. Through exhibitions highlighting both the Brooks' permanent collection and world-class traveling exhibitions, as well as dynamic programming, the museum has become a center of cultural activity in Memphis. The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art continues to fulfill its mission of enriching the lives of our diverse community.