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New director of Yale University Art Gallery announced
Ms. Wiles has 20 years experience leading college and university art museums at Cornell, Oberlin College, and Wesleyan University. Photo: Jon Reis Photography.

NEW HAVEN, CONN.- Yale announced today that Stephanie Wiles, currently the Richard J. Schwartz Director of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, will be the next Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery. Ms. Wiles will join Yale on July 1, succeeding Jock Reynolds, who has led the gallery since 1998.

Ms. Wiles has 20 years experience leading college and university art museums at Cornell, Oberlin College, and Wesleyan University. She began her career in the department of drawings and prints at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City where she worked for seventeen years. Ms. Wiles received her bachelor’s degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, a master’s degree in art history from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and a Ph.D. in art history from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

At Cornell, Ms. Wiles raised endowments to support new curatorial positions, spearheaded an active grant program to advance teaching across disciplines, led the redesign of permanent collection galleries, and launched a comprehensive photography partnership with the Cornell University Library through a new grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She also oversaw the commission of a stunning light installation on the exterior ceiling of the museum’s sculpture court, visible from campus and the city of Ithaca. Comprised of 12,000 LEDs and named in honor of scientist Carl Sagan, “Cosmos,” by artist and Yale alumnus Leo Villareal, was completed in 2012.

“Stephanie shares my vision for integrating the arts into so much of what we do at Yale,” Peter Salovey, president of Yale, said. “She is a respected leader and gifted communicator who understands that the arts can contribute to every aspect of teaching and learning on our campus. From interdisciplinary classes that take advantage of the museum’s superb collections, to collaborations with scientists and conservators at Yale West Campus, to outreach to our neighbors in New Haven and visitors worldwide, I am confident Stephanie will forge new and lasting partnerships to further strengthen the connections between the gallery and the rest of the university.”

“I am thrilled about this incomparable opportunity to lead the Yale University Art Gallery,” Ms. Wiles said. “Its renowned collections and distinguished staff make the gallery one of the finest university art museums in the world. The unique possibilities to partner with faculty, students, and staff, as well as with outstanding colleagues and collections just steps away at the Yale Center for British Art, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and the Peabody Museum of Natural History, are tremendously inspiring."

A specialist in old master drawings, Ms. Wiles has written and lectured widely on topics ranging from Rembrandt etchings to the photographs of Margaret Bourke-White. She has decades of experience organizing major exhibitions and curating or co-curating shows, including Side by Side: Oberlin’s Masterworks at the Met; Jim Dine, some drawings; Gainsborough to Ruskin: British Landscape Drawings & Watercolors in the Morgan Library & Museum; and Exploring Rome: Piranesi and his Contemporaries. Ms. Wiles serves on the board of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and chairs the AAMD Membership Committee.

“The formative early years I spent at the Morgan Library taught me the importance of quality, connoisseurship, and deep looking,” Ms. Wiles said. “It has been a joy to apply this same research and aesthetic expertise to learning about art from other cultures and contemporary arts practice in an academic setting. Mentoring undergraduate and graduate students is exciting to me, and I look forward to working with the gallery’s curators, educators, conservators, and others to ensure that Yale continues to play a leading role in all areas of museum work and education.”

Ms. Wiles has extensive experience working at the intersection of art, science, and technology. She served on several committees at Cornell Tech, a science and technology graduate school in New York City, tasked with integrating the visual arts into the student experience. She has also worked to create transdisciplinary programs at Cornell’s main campus. Under Ms. Wiles’ leadership, the Johnson Museum developed eight new semester-long courses co-taught by museum staff and faculty from the arts, humanities, engineering, and science.

“The Yale University Art Gallery is an exceptional resource for our university and for scholars around the world, and it is a wonderful attraction and focal point for our students, staff, faculty, and the thousands of visitors who enjoy our collections each year. It is one of Yale’s greatest treasures,” Salovey said. “I know Stephanie will create new ways to reach large and diverse audiences, ensuring that even more people enjoy, appreciate, and learn from these incredible works of art.”

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