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Jack Becker Named New Joslyn Art Museum Executive Director
Dr. Jack Becker comes to Joslyn from Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville, Tennessee.

OMAHA, NE.- Jim Young, chairman of Joslyn Art Museum’s board of governors, announced today that Jack F. Becker, Ph.D., has accepted the position as executive director of Joslyn Art Museum.

Dr. Becker, 46, comes to Joslyn from Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has served as president and chief executive officer since 2005. He joined Cheekwood in 2002 as vice president/director of its art museum. Prior to that, Dr. Becker worked as curator of the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut, the center of America's best known Impressionist art colony; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. He also held fellowships from the National Gallery of Art, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution.

At Cheekwood, Dr. Becker oversaw the operations of an accredited art museum with about 10,000 square feet of gallery space housing nearly 8,000 objects with strengths in American art, works on paper, photographs, and decorative arts. Cheekwood’s botanical garden features outdoor sculpture and important botanical collections situated in the estate’s 10 distinct gardens.

During his five years as head of Cheekwood, Dr. Becker championed the financial strengthening and enhanced branding of the institution, implementing new marketing strategies to increase attendance and growing contributed income. Under his leadership, Cheekwood increased major donor memberships, completed a $2.7 million restoration campaign, and added several works of art to the Museum’s collection.

The Cheekwood hosts important traveling exhibitions and in-house exhibitions based upon the permanent collection. In celebration of Cheekwood’s 50th anniversary this year, Dr. Becker initiated a city-wide exhibition by Seattle-based glass artist Dale Chihuly. He secured a multi-year loan of the 57 object Matilda Geddings Gray Fabergé Collection, one of the finest collections of its kind in the world, and was awarded a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., for a contemporary art program featuring solo artist exhibitions and installations of new media annually.

New programs introduced during Dr. Becker’s tenure include Tuesdays for Tots; Lunch and Lecture; the Scarecrows fall garden exhibition; Highballs and Hydrangeas, an award winning art and garden event for young professionals; and other events and partnerships with universities, public and private schools, and professional organizations.

Jim Young stated, “We have great confidence in our new director, Jack Becker. He is a passionate, proven leader with more than 25 years of art museum experience. Equal to his love for art and success at building collaborative relationships in the arts is his commitment to donor cultivation. Jack is keenly aware of the museum director’s role as a fundraiser and understands the importance that growing annual contributions and endowment has on the overall financial stability of cultural institutions such as Joslyn. He is the ideal person to lead Joslyn into the new decade.”

Dr. Becker earned his B.A. in art history at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota; his M.A. in art history and Ph.D. in American art at the University of Delaware in Newark; and his M.B.A. at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He has authored exhibition and collection catalogues and catalogue entries, essays, and introductions, including Henry Ward Ranger and the Humanized Landscape (Florence Griswold Museum, 1999); The California Impressionists at Laguna (Florence Griswold Museum, 2000); and “Championing Tonal Painting: The Lotos Club” for the Spanierman Gallery’s 2005 catalogue for the exhibition The Poetic Vision: American Tonalism.

“I am delighted to be joining the Joslyn Art Museum, and look forward to immersing myself in the community of Omaha. The Museum has an important collection and a strong history of community involvement. I look forward to building upon the institution’s past successes to make Joslyn one of the finest regional art museums in the nation.”

Dr. Becker will begin as Joslyn Art Museum’s eleventh director in April. Joslyn’s previous director, J. Brooks Joyner, resigned in September 2009.

Joslyn Art Museum | Jim Young | Jack F. Becker |

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