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Richard P. Townsend Named President and CEO of the Museum of Latin American Art
Richard P. Townsend new President and CEO of the Museum of Latin American Art.

LONG BEACH, CA.- The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) announced today that Richard P. Townsend, an accomplished museum curator and director, who was most recently Deputy Director for External Affairs at the Miami Art Museum, has been named its next President and CEO. He will assume his position on May 1.

Mike Deovlet and Burke Gumbiner, Co-chairs of MOLAA’s Board of Directors, stated, “Richard’s unique combination of curatorial experience, leadership skills, and fundraising acumen are the perfect fit for the museum at this stage of its development. We are thankful to our colleagues on the selection committee for their diligence and commitment to this challenging process and are proud that the time and effort devoted to this task has resulted in the selection of such an outstanding leader.” Mr. Townsend’s selection is the culmination of a rigorous nationwide search to fill the key position at MOLAA.

Mr. Townsend commented, “I look forward to the privilege of working with the Board and staff of the Museum of Latin American Art. MOLAA is poised to make even greater contributions to the communities it serves and I am humbled to have been selected to guide the museum in its next decade of achievement. I hope to invigorate the museum’s mission of being a ‘bridge to the Americas’ through programs that reveal exciting developments in contemporary Latin American art.”

MOLAA completed a major expansion and renovation in 2007 doubling its size to 55,000 square feet. The Museum also recently received a $25 million dollar endowment from its founder Robert Gumbiner, who passed away in January 2009.

As Deputy Director for External Affairs at Miami Art Museum since 2006, Richard P. Townsend was the Chief Development and Marketing Officer with oversight of the annual fund, foundation and corporate capital campaign and all communications activities of the museum. He was responsible for record setting multi-million dollar annual fund results and raised significant capital campaign contributions. Mr. Townsend also helped develop and fund innovative education programs and served on the organizing team for the nationally touring exhibition of the work of Argentine artist, Guillermo Kuitca, opening this October.

While in Miami, a major center for contemporary Latin American art, Mr. Townsend developed an extensive professional network in the Latin American art world both in the United States and in Latin America. Miami Art Museum and MOLAA both participated in the national tour of an important exhibition of the internationally acclaimed Cuban artist, Wifredo Lam.

Mr. Townsend was educated at Virginia Commonwealth University, receiving his BFA in art history in 1986, and then at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where he earned his MA in 1989. As a curator, he organized numerous exhibitions both here and abroad and published in international publications such as The Burlington Magazine, Apollo and the Leids Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek of the University of Leiden.

Prior to his time in Miami, Mr. Townsend was Executive Director and CEO of Price Tower Arts Center, a museum of art, architecture and design housed in the Price Tower, a landmark building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. During his tenure at Price Tower Arts Center, the museum’s annual operating budget and level of financial support more than doubled and attendance increased four-fold. While there, he also concluded a $10 million capital campaign and executed a $2.4 million project comprised of the construction of the Inn at Price Tower and an upgrade of the museum.

Simultaneously, Mr. Townsend conducted an international search for a design architect for a proposed expansion. The Arts Center selected Zaha Hadid—the 2004 Pritzker Prize laureate. His other achievements there included the organization of the exhibition Prairie Skyscraper: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower, which toured to Yale University and the National Building Museum, Washington, DC, as well as the completion of the restored Wright interiors and the opening of an architecture study center. Mr. Townsend previously held positions at The Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma; the University of Tulsa; and the Dayton Art Institute in Ohio.

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