Dr. Charles L. Venable, the IMA
s Melvin & Bren Simon Director & CEO, announced today that Jonathan M. Wright has been named the institutions Ruth Lilly Deputy Director for Horticulture and Natural Resources following a national search.
Jonathan Wright holds a bachelors degree from Temple University where he graduated magna cum laude in ornamental horticulture. He also completed Longwood Gardens Professional Gardener Program and the Getty Leadership Institutes Museum Leaders: The Next Generation Program. He is a non-profit garden specialist who has distinguished himself in the horticultural field through his creativity and extensive knowledge of plants and international garden design.
Previous to his IMA appointment, Wright was a horticulturist for nearly 12 years at The Chanticleer Foundation in Wayne, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. The Chanticleer Foundation maintains and advances its mission through a 48-acre Pleasure Garden. Originally the garden was the private estate of the Rosengarten family, who made a fortune in the pharmaceutical business. Since being opened to the public in 1993, Chanticleer has become internationally renowned as a training ground for great horticulturalists and for exceptional plant displays. Wright most recently designed and maintained the sumptuous gardens surrounding Chanticleer House, including the Serpentine Garden, Chanticleer Terraces and Bulb Meadow.
Wright has extensive experience at gardens around the United States and England including Ganna Walska Lotusland, Montecito, Calif.; Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, Colo.; National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai, Hawaii; Great Dixter, Sussex, England; The Harland Hand Memorial Garden, El Cerrito, Calif.; and Peckerwood Garden, Hempstead, Texas. He has studied garden design and plants around the globe including in Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey. Wright has lectured widely and was a contributor to the new and highly-acclaimed book, The Art of Gardening, design inspiration and planting techniques from Chanticleer (2015).
In association with Venable, the IMA Board of Governors, and staff, Wright will develop a long-range master plan and a five-year strategic plan for IMAs horticultural and natural resources, including the gardens, Gene and Rosemary Tanner Orchard and natural landscapes associated with Oldfields-Lilly House & Gardens (Percival Gallagher of the Olmsted Brothers, designer, 1920), Westerley House estate (Jens Jensen, designer, 1922), Miller House & Garden (Dan Kiley, designer, 1953), IMA museum building; and The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park: 100 Acres (Marlon Blackwell, Edward L. Blake, Jr., designers, 2010).
"I couldn't be more excited to join the talented IMA team, said Wright. I look forward to advancing the goals laid out in the strategic plan to develop and enhance the Fairbanks Park and the gardens campus wide. I also look forward to collaborating with staff to weave nature and horticulture into the fabric of the IMA through exhibitions, events, programming and the gardens and the Park.
I am pleased that Jonathan will be joining our senior leadership team in early March, said Dr. Venable. The IMA is among only a handful of institutions internationally where visitors have exceptional experiences with both art and nature. I feel Jonathan Wright has the vision, knowledge and creativity to provide strategic direction and leadership to establish the IMA as one of the preeminent public garden and urban ecosystem destinations in the country.