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Dayton Art Institute Director Janice Driesbach to Retire, Interim Director Appointed
Director and CEO, Janice Driesbach, announced that she will retire at the end of July.

DAYTON, OH.- The Dayton Art Institute’s (DAI) Director and CEO, Janice Driesbach, announced that she will retire at the end of July.

Driesbach, who was hired in November 2007 and began her tenure in January 2008, came to Dayton from Lincoln, Nebraska, where she headed the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During her tenure at DAI, Driesbach oversaw the development of the museum’s new strategic plan and brought important exhibitions to Dayton, including William Morris glass, California Impressionism and African-American art. Most recently Driesbach was responsible for organizing Creating the New Century: Contemporary Art from the Dicke Collection, which is on view through July 10.

Driesbach commented that she takes pride in advancing DAI’s fiscal stability and the museum’s community partnerships.

“The Dayton Art Institute continues to face challenges and, like many of its peers across the country, must continue to examine new ways of operating that assure it is financially stable and responsive to the needs and interests of its changing audiences,” Driesbach said. “These are exciting opportunities for The Dayton Art Institute that will require energetic leadership devoted to fundraising in a competitive climate and committed to seeing new initiatives through to completion. Having realized significant accomplishments at DAI, I look forward to having time to pursue other interests, including special arts projects and community service.”

DAI board chairman Rob Connelly said of Driesbach: “Jan came to our museum at a time when we were in need of someone to make tough decisions. The museum found itself facing increasing financial demands, which were multiplied when the local and national economy declined. Jan tackled the job of bringing financial discipline to the organization while delivering high-quality exhibitions, programming and community outreach. She achieved real progress and delivered ahead of plan for 2010.”

The Art Institute’s board of trustees has appointed board vice-chairperson, Linda Lombard, to serve as interim director. Lombard, who will take a leave of absence from the board and is not accepting any financial compensation, has been actively involved with DAI since the mid-1970s. She served as development director during the Art Institute’s first capital campaign in the late 1970s. Later, she chaired the Jefferson Patterson Society and doubled its membership. Lombard currently serves as the board’s development chair. She was named 2002 AFP Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year and 2009 YWCA Woman of Influence, among other awards. Lombard and her husband John were nominated for the 2011 Ohio Arts Council’s Governor’s Award for Outstanding Arts Patron.

“I am pleased and excited to have been named interim director,” Lombard said. “I hope to guide the museum through a smooth transition toward a brighter future. The Dayton Art Institute is a cultural cornerstone of the Dayton region, with its wonderful collections, strong, dedicated staff and broad community outreach. Yes, we are facing challenges, but we have a strong base upon which to build.”

“We are so grateful Linda has agreed to take on this critical role,” Connelly added. “She has a deep understanding of the museum, and she has our full confidence and support. We feel very fortunate.”

Connelly is assembling a team to map out the transition process and assess the job requirements for the next director.

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