Tuesday, August 30, 2016

UPDATE: CC, FAC offer clarification on Chief Curator change

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 9:27 AM

This morning, CC's Vice President for Communications, Jane Turnis, asked us to clarify Tiefenthaler's comments, as noted below.

——ORIGINAL POST 4:10 P.M. MON., AUG 29, 2016——

In the ongoing Colorado College/Fine Arts Center takeover business, which was finalized last Thursday, there was one prominent piece of bad news that dampened the whole affair: the announcement that beloved curator Joy Armstrong would not be stepping into the role of Executive Director and Chief Curator. At the time, FAC CEO David Dahlin suggested that due to the academic mission that the FAC would take on as part of the takeover, the new curator would have to have a terminal degree. We were unable to confirm this with CC President Jill Tiefenthaler, as she was unavailable.
click to enlarge Joy Armstrong will not be taking over Blake Milteer's job — but not because she doesn't have a terminal degree. - COURTESY JOY ARMSTRONG
  • Courtesy Joy Armstrong
  • Joy Armstrong will not be taking over Blake Milteer's job — but not because she doesn't have a terminal degree.

However, we spoke to both last week, and Tiefenthaler dispelled the idea that the terminal degree was a sticking point. Rather, she clarified that the new hire would have to have experience navigating academic bureaucracy working in higher education in order to serve the FAC's added academic mission as well as its duty to the public.

“We’ve got to make sure we’ve got people who can do both of those on staff," she says. "While the Fine Arts Center has had a great museum staff, it hasn’t had an academic mission or an academic focus. We need people who can do both of those." To that end, Tiefenthaler says they'll be looking for directorial and curatorial staff that has had experience working with students and teachers. Dahlin adds that the takeover will include some substantial restructuring, which was also a point of consideration.

“The job that we had been talking about Joy taking really won’t exist in the future," he says. "It made sense for us to say ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, we need to step back from this and look at what does this real future museum function look like and museum staffing look like.'" It's more likely that the Chief Curator and Executive Director roles will be split. Dahlin notes that most of Armstrong's expertise is as a curator. He adds that former Chief Curator Blake Milteer's holding both roles was not standard practice for museums, and indeed was a huge role to have just one person fill.

“We’re hoping to correct that and have more appropriate staffing with more appropriate expertise for the different functions that need to be there in the museum,” says Dahlin.

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