Above: Kristy Edmunds is the new director of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
The Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art have announced that Kristy Edmunds will be taking over as the new director. The North Adams-based museum, known to most people as MASS MoCA had been looking to appoint a director for almost a year. MASS MoCA’s statement made it clear that the long search was now over thanks to a unanimous decision among its board members.
The museum, which is located in a converted former print works and factory building complex, is among the biggest contemporary visual art and performing arts centres in the entire US. According to MASS MoCA, Edmunds is taking over in October having formerly served as the executive and artistic director at UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, a role she had fulfilled for over ten years. Before then, Edmunds had worked as the artistic director at the Melbourne International Arts Festival. She had also worked for several years at the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne, serving as both head of the performing arts school there and as the institution’s deputy dean.
Above: MASS – MOCA
Edmunds’ career also included time spent working as the artistic director of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and the Time Based Art Festival in the same city. According to MASS MoCA, the new director had also previously held a senior role at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. Initially from Chelan, Washington, Edmunds studied at Western Washington University before gaining a BS in film and television production at the State University in Montana.
“I have been fascinated with this institution from the moment I first heard about it,” Edmunds said. She continued to praise the art for doing whatever it took to make the extraordinary possible. “What it feels like to experience art there is unlike anywhere else,” she said. “There is an aliveness charging through the campus.” According to Edmunds, it is this vitality that excites her in her new role because it manages to respect past traditions while being in what she called ‘the vivid present’. “I have never been there without feeling that I’d discovered something astonishing,” she added.
The chair of the MASS MoCA Foundation Board of Trustees, Timur Galen, said that he thought Edmunds would bring a proven track record in leadership as well as an exceptional record of artistic vision and community engagement to her directorship. “We are thrilled to welcome Kristy to MASS MoCA and North Adams,” she added. Mariko Silver, who was also on the search committee that ultimately appointed Edmunds, echoed Galen’s sentiments. “This is an important new chapter for MASS MoCA,” he said, “and we are fortunate to have [our new director]… to lead us through it.”
Edmunds took to Twitter to say that she felt ‘so honoured’ by her appointment. She will now take over the institution’s annual budget which ranges from somewhere between $8 and $10 million plus a full-time staffing roster of about 45 employees.
About the author – Manuel Charr
Manuel Charr is a journalist working in the arts and cultural sectors. With a background in marketing, Manuel is drawn to arts organizations which are prepared to try inventive ways to reach new audiences.