WORCESTER, MA.- Worcester Art Museum
announced the appointment of Matthias Waschek as Director of the 115-year old institution, effective November 16. He succeeds James A. Welu, who announced one year ago that he would step down in 2011 to transition into the newly-created position of Director Emeritus.
Matthias Wascheks experience and success in directing the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts to international renown make him the ideal choice as the next Director of the Worcester Art Museum, said Clifford J. Schorer, III, President of the Worcester Art Museum Board of Trustees. For 20 years, his scholarship, curatorial skills and leadership have undeniably established him as a force in the next generation of museum management. This paired with his contagious passion for art, and for making art accessible to all make his appointment an exciting, evolutionary step for Worcester and our amazing museum.
It is an honor to be selected as Worcester Art Museums next director, said Waschek. I am particularly excited by the quality and encyclopedic nature of the collection, which appeal directly to my own experience, interests and scholarly work. I very much look forward to further broadening the audience for and appreciation of this truly remarkable institution.
Most recently, Waschek was Executive Director of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, Missouri. During his tenure of eight years, he shaped the identity of the new institution, doubled the annual operating budget, conceived and curated exhibitions with important loans from internationally renowned collections, developed local and national partnerships, and increased and diversified the audience via highly innovative programming. Previously, as Director of Academic Programs at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, Waschek honed a strong background in curatorial work, academic programs, teaching, lecturing, publishing, and general management.
Born in Germany, Waschek earned his Ph.D. from Bonn University, concentrating in art history, classical archaeology, and modern history. In St. Louis, he was active in the community, serving as a member of the Grand Center Steering Committee for Urban Development, member of the grant selection committee for the Regional Arts Commission in Saint Louis, and created the first interdisciplinary position for social work in museum practice with the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.
The board directed our search committee to conduct a thorough search and ordered us not to disappoint, said Schorer. With the help of Phillips Oppenheim, an executive recruiting firm specializing in museums, we were lucky to have the opportunity to find such an ideal candidate and even luckier we were able to convince him that Worcester offered the greatest opportunity out of the numerous offers he was fielding. After our exhaustive search process, Matthias Waschek was our unanimous choice, as well as the best-qualified candidate. We are absolutely convinced he is the right person to shepherd the museum into the next phase of growth.
In addition to welcoming Matthias to Worcester we would also like to thank Jim Welu for his incredible term of leadership at the Worcester Art Museum, continued Schorer. He has been exceptionally devoted, having been with our museum for nearly one third of its 115-year history. During this period Worcester Art Museum has presented internationally celebrated exhibitions, acquired many great masterworks, and inspired and educated countless visitors and students. His important legacy will continue as Jim assumes an ambassadorial role as our first Director Emeritus. We look forward to reading the history of the Worcester Art Museum, which is among the projects he intends to undertake in the future.