I was thrilled to read in ArtNews and Culture Type that Sandra Jackson-Dumont, the Chairman of Education for the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), has been chosen after an international search to be the Director and CEO of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. The new museum, which is under construction in the Exposition Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, is scheduled to open in 2021. Ms. Jackson-Dumont will begin her new post in January 2020.
Readers of Arts & Culture Connections were first introduced to the work of Ms. Jackson-Dumont in 2017 in an interview I conducted about her diversity and inclusion work, as well as her community engagement efforts as the Met’s Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education. She has garnered global attention for her persistent, committed hard work, which has included the development of programs and exhibitions for diverse audiences—from families and teenagers to artists and scholars.
Ms. Jackson-Dumont’s numerous accomplishments at the Met include the Teens Take the Met, program, in partnership with more than 40 youth and cultural organizations. Now in its fifth year, the event has brought together more than 22,000 teens from all five boroughs of New York City to participate in a hands-on, immersive experience at the museum. Ms. Jackson-Dumont also established an artist-in-residence program that supports artists with strong local community ties, and she convened a day-long event as part of the Met’s retrospective of the work by the renowned artist Kerry James Marshall.
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art was founded by philanthropist and pioneering filmmaker George Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President of Ariel Investments. The museum’s goal, according to its website, is “to inspire current and future generations through the universal art of visual storytelling.” The museum will house a permanent collection and rotating exhibitions featuring illustrations, paintings, comic art, photography, and an in-depth exploration of the arts of filmmaking.
Ms. Hobson told the Los Angeles Times that Ms. Jackson-Dumont “has a vision and a point of view. She just stood out (from the other candidates).” And quoted in ArtForum, Ms. Hobson said of the new Director and CEO, “Education is at the core of our mission, so it’s fitting that the director of the Lucas Museum be a deeply experienced museum educator. Sandra has more than two decades of experience in the field, and we believe she is the leader who will help bring our vision of creating an inspiring and accessible museum to life.”
Pride doesn’t begin to describe my emotions when I learned of Sandra’s appointment. Having this fortress of visual and narrative cultural and entertainment history, as well as a mammoth educational resource, led by an African-American woman is indeed a very 21st century decision. I applaud the museum’s Board of Directors for its foresight.
Sandra has always stood out for her perspective on the role and impact of art, her commitment to diversity, and the innovative, community engagement efforts she employed at the Met, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Seattle Arts Museum (SAM). And this appointment only underscores Sandra’s extraordinary capabilities.
Her appointment also comes amidst other significant executive appointments of African-Americans in the world of culture and arts, including the appointment of Lonnie Bunch, III, as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and the appointment of Nataki Garrett as the Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Big things are in store for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art—I know Sandra is going to SOAR!
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