Susan Strickler, who has guided the Currier Museum
as director and CEO since 1996, has announced her retirement as of June 2016. Upon her retirement, Stricklers tenure as Director will be the longest in the Curriers 86-year history. Her visionary guidance converted the once-small museum to one of regional and national renown.
Susan has had a remarkable two-decade tenure at the helm of the Currierwhich was a time of wonderful artistic growth and institutional expansion, raising the profile of the Currier as one of the nations finest mid-sized museums, said M. Christine Dwyer, Currier Museum of Art Board president. Susan brought to the role a strong curatorial and management background and she developed a team of senior staff leaders who have worked hard to make the Currier experience welcoming to all. The Trustees are grateful that she has given us the time to select a worthy successor.
Under Stricklers guidance, the Currier Museum collection and building have undergone tremendous growth. Most publically notable was the Museums physical expansion, which added more than 33,000 square feet of space. The renovation, designed by Ann Beha Architects, created two additional galleries to accommodate larger exhibitions and to display more of the growing collections. The Museum also added two large communal areas: The Anderson Lobby greets Museum visitors upon their arrival, and the Winter Garden Café is a popular lunch destination and private events space. In 1996, the Museum purchased the former Pearl Manor building and two years later converted it to a new home for the Art Center, now serving more than 1,200 people annually, including hundreds of traditionally underserved inner-city youth.
The collection expanded strategically under Strickler, thanks to the generosity of bequests from Henry Melville Fuller, as well as ceramicists Ed and Mary Scheier, who established the Curriers first endowments restricted for the purchase of art. The Museum has expanded its holdings of photography, prints and decorative arts, initiated a collection of craft and added major paintings and sculpture by internationally acclaimed artists including Sol LeWitt, Frank Stella, Andrew Wyeth, Mark Di Suvero, Glenn Ligon, Richard Estes, and John Marin. Exemplary works by accomplished artists from the region, such as Eric Aho, Jon Brooks, Karen Karnes, Ted Blachly and Vivian Beer, have been added.
In 2002, the Currier started a multi-year program to provide information about the entire permanent collection on the Museums website. Today more than 14,000 works of art are illustrated online with text entries, provenance, exhibition histories for over 350 objects.
The Curriers two most popular exhibitions during Stricklers tenure were Maxfield Parrish 1870-1966 (1999) and M.C. Escher: Reality and Illusion (2014-15) each of which attracted more than 30,000 people to the Museum.
Strickler curated From Homer to Hopper: American Watercolors from the Currier Museum of Art (2010), and two traveling exhibitions: Andrew Wyeth: Early Watercolors (2004) and Impressionism Transformed: The Paintings of Edmund C. Tarbell (2001). These exhibitions are among the highest attended in the Curriers 86-year history. She was the author of the Wyeth exhibition catalogue and coauthor and editor of the Tarbell catalogue. Prior to her directorship at the Currier, Strickler was curator of American Art at the Worcester Art Museum from 1981 to 1995.
In the community, Strickler served on the boards of numerous organizations. From 2003 through 2007, she was a member of the Board of Trustees for the New Hampshire Institute of Art. Strickler served on the Manchester Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors from 2000-2006 and was a member of the New Hampshire Travel Council Board of Directors from 2001-2005. She continues on the Advisory Council of Historic New England, a role she began in 2002.
Opportunity Resources, Inc. in New York City is handling the search for Stricklers successor and it is anticipated that a new director and CEO will be named in late spring 2016.