Ms. Harrison is coming from the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, where she has served as the director and chief executive since 2013.
She said in an interview on Tuesday that she is looking to bring the spirit of joie de vivre she feels at the Museum of the African Diaspora to the Newark Museum. By that, she explained, she means that she wants to promote inclusivity and openness to new ideas, new thoughts.
She also mentioned that she is hoping to reimagine some of the beautiful collections that the Newark Museum has and re-engage the Newark and the greater Newark and New York audiences.
The Newark Museum, which dates back to 1909, is notable for having both a significant art collection, especially in the area of Tibetan art, and a significant natural history collection. It is also home to the Alice and Leonard Dreyfuss Planetarium.
Ms. Harrison joins the museum at a time when Newark is undergoing what some have called a revival. After struggling for decades with issues of poverty, violence and economic erosion, there are indications that a brighter future might await the city.
We see all around us how the neighborhood is changing quickly to accommodate its renewed development and growth, Clifford Blanchard, the co-chairman of the museums board of trustees said in a statement. With Linda at the helm, the Newark Museum will continue to grow in its role as both a cultural and community anchor.
The transformation that Newark is undergoing today, Ms. Harrison said, reminds her of the way the Yerba Buena arts district of San Francisco changed over the past two decades.
Arts institutions, she added, can play an integral role in how a growing city develops itself: To be able to energize and bring to a neighborhood a cultural center that is so diverse in its audience as well as in its artistic programming, I think that that is going to be of value.
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Linda Harrison will be the next director and CEO of the Newark Museum in New Jersey. She takes the place of Steven Kern, who resigned in late 2017 to become president of the Asbjorn Lunde Foundation.
Harrison has led the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco since 2013 as CEO and director. Prior to her role at MoAD, she was a business owner in San Francisco and a vice president at Eastman Kodak. A Getty Foundation Executive Leadership Institute Fellow, Harrison is on a variety of nonprofit boards and committees, including the program committee for the American Alliance of Museums.
Im thrilled to join the Newark Museum family to implement a bold transformation/agenda that lock steps with the City of Newarks revitalization of the downtown district, Harrison said in a statement. The museum will be the citys hub, where art, science, race, and culture will ignite compassionate conversations.
When she starts in her new job in January, Harrison will be only the eighth director in the history of the museum, which will mark its 110th anniversary next year.
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