VASC Speaker: Kaywin Feldman

Kaywin Feldman

On November 20th at 6:30 pm in Smith 104 join us to hear a lecture from Kaywin Feldman, the fifth director of the National Gallery of Art. She will be speaking on her experience as the director of four different art museums across the United States and her commitment to connecting people to art in a globalized world through the power of wonder and accessibility.

Kaywin Feldman is the fifth director of the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Elected in the fall of 2018, Feldman joined the museum in March 2019 in her fourth posting as an art museum director. She is committed to connecting people to art in a globalized world through the power of wonder and accessibility.

Feldman served for 11 years as the Nivin and Duncan MacMillan Director and President at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) (2008–2019). At Mia, Feldman effected a 50 percent increase in annual attendance, expanded the collection, launched and completed visionary strategic plans, and transformed the museum’s relationship to the Twin City community and to the nation through groundbreaking initiatives such as the Center for Empathy & the Visual Arts. Prior to her arrival in Minneapolis, Feldman was the director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Tennessee for nine years (1999–2008). While at the Brooks, Feldman prioritized the visitor experience, presented transformative exhibitions such as The Quilts of Gee’s Bend (2005), and authored the museum’s collection compendium. Her first directorship was in California at the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art & Science (1995–1999), where she also served as curator of art (1994–1995).

Feldman has held numerous leadership positions in museum associations. Currently, she is a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the White House Historical Association, and the Chipstone Foundation. A past member of the board for the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) (2010–2018), she served as the chair and vice chair. Feldman was on the board of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) (2006–2016), where she served in multiple capacities from secretary to president. Feldman was a trustee of the Memphis College of Art as well as a board member for both the California Association of Museums and Tennessee Association of Museums. She has lectured widely and published numerous articles on many aspects of museums in the 21st century.

Feldman received an MA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (1991), an MA in Museum Studies from the Institute of Archaeology at the University of London (1990), and a BA, summa cum laude, in Classical Archaeology from the University of Michigan (1988), where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1966, Feldman has lived all over the world as the daughter of a Coast Guard captain. She cites her first encounter with frescoes by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua as a moment of “wonder” and the decision point of pivoting from classical archaeology to art history.


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