Cindy Petersen announced as Taubman Museum of Art's executive director

Board of trustees made announcement Thursday

ROANOKE, Va. – Cindy Petersen has been announced as the Taubman Museum of Art's new executive director.

The Taubman Museum of Art board of trustees made the announcement Thursday.

"Petersen is an experienced leader in nonprofit management, having worked over the past two decades with organizations in Virginia and in business consulting in Europe," according to the museum's release. "She has been with the Taubman since 2011 as deputy director of education and visitor engagement before serving as interim executive director following the departure of former executive director Della Watkins in September 2017, who left to join the Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina."

Museum officials said Petersen was integral to the development and enhancement of visitor-based programming during her time as a senior staff member.

Petersen created a Learning Lab for Leaders training series, designed Art Venture, led the redevelopment of the museum's education programs to mirror K-12 curriculum plans, started a Museum School and provided strategic guidance that helped the museum earn accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, museum officials said.

The average length of guest visits to the museum tripled during her tenure, according to the museum.

"Having worked closely with Cindy over the past few years, the board has the utmost confidence in her abilities," said Leon Harris, chairman of the board of trustees. "She has a deep understanding of this museum and our community. She is a compassionate leader who is able to bring out the best in her teams. She has strong relationships with key organizations and individuals across the commonwealth. She is a proven fundraiser and knows how to balance a large budget. And she is an innovative thinker who can turn challenges into opportunities. We're delighted to work with Cindy in this new capacity and know many wonderful things are ahead for the Taubman Museum of Art and for our community."

According to Petersen, her visitor-first commitment will continue in her new role.

"My vision is to meet the community where they are: to offer participatory educational opportunities and exhibitions that reflect their interests, yet educate and connect them to the broader world," Petersen said. "We want the Taubman to be everyone's art museum -- accessible, a place for discovery and inspiring, and somewhere that, before they even leave, they're already planning their next visit."

Museum officials said Petersen earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree in education from Harvard University. She serves on the Carilion Children’s Advisory Board, the Roanoke City Public Schools Education Foundation and the Southwest Virginia Ballet Board of Directors.

Members of the community are invited to a drop-in Coffee with the New Executive Director event from 8:30-10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 25 to meet Petersen and share their ideas on the future of the museum with her, officials said.

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