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Cantor Arts Center appoints new Curator of the Arts of Africa, Native America and Ancient America
Catherine M. Hale the new Phyllis Wattis Curator of the Arts of Africa, begins September 15, 2014.
STANFORD, CA.- Connie Wolf, director of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, announces the appointment of Catherine M. Hale as the new Phyllis Wattis Curator of the Arts of Africa, Native America and Ancient America. Hale will develop this area of the collection, including its documentation, research, preservation, presentation and growth. She will also curate original exhibitions; develop programming to make the African and Native American collection more accessible and relevant to the museum’s diverse audiences; and encourage academic departments and student groups across campus to use the museum’s resources. Her work at the Cantor begins September 15, 2014.

“After an international search, I am delighted to welcome Catherine Hale to our team,” said Connie Wolf. “With her amazing skill set, she can offer fresh perspectives on the collection and enliven it with contemporary art and issues. She also has proven experience integrating a museum’s collection into a university’s teaching curriculum—one of the Cantor’s most immediate missions.”

Hale comes to Stanford from the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA), where she served three years as the curator of African and non-Western art. She curated UIMA’s Visual Classroom, an on-campus gallery designed to facilitate immediate encounters with works of art from the museum’s collections, and also designed and implemented an interactive digital map that uses Geographic Information Systems technology and allows museum visitors to see connections between the African objects on display and such topics as ethnolinguistic groupings, colonial activities, trade routes and health statistics. Hale also reinstalled the African and Pre-Columbian exhibition spaces, curated the exhibitions Art and Life in Africa and Interplay: Material, Method and Motif in West African Art, and helped to acquire important works for UIMA, including a diptych from Carrie Mae Weems’s Africa Series.

Prior to joining UIMA, Hale taught upper-level undergraduate courses at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario and curated exhibitions of African art for the Carleton University Art Gallery and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston. She holds a Ph.D. and an Artium Magister degree from Harvard University and an M.A. in Canadian Art History from Carleton University. Her primary research area is the “traditional” African arts, but she has acquired in-depth understanding of more recent modes of artistic production through her curatorial projects, coursework and extracurricular study.

“I am delighted to be joining Connie Wolf and the outstanding Cantor team at this exciting moment for the arts at Stanford,” said Hale. “My interest in the potential of technology for museum education models, and my commitment to integrating curatorial programming with the wider community, make Stanford a great fit. Looking ahead, one of my first priorities will be to connect with faculty and students across the university—I want to hear about their engagement with the arts of Africa and the Americas and begin developing collaborative projects that will enrich campus life.”

Hale is the fourth Phyllis Wattis Curator at the Cantor Arts Center, a position endowed by the late Bay Area philanthropist Phyllis Wattis through a generous gift that also supports acquisitions, exhibitions, conservation and educational programs. Wattis’s generosity to Stanford also includes assistance in establishing the Rodin Sculpture Garden in 1985 and endowing three professorships in 1988 in the areas of art, medicine and business.

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