PAFA announces Anne E. McCollum as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees

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PAFA announces Anne E. McCollum as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees
McCollum is the first female to lead the Board of America’s first art museum and school.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts announced the election of Anne E. McCollum as the organization's new chairperson of the Board of Trustees. McCollum will succeed Kevin Donohoe as the first female leader of America's oldest art museum and school. Donohoe will remain on the board as a trustee and chair emeritus, and McCollum will assume the role on July 1, 2021.

“Anne has my full support. She has a reputation for working successfully with the Board and staff and supporting initiatives important to the college and museum, students and visitors,” commented Donohoe. “I remain totally committed to PAFA, the best art school and museum of American art in the country.”

With her professional expertise in finance and a relationship with PAFA that spans more than three decades, McCollum's knowledge of the institution runs deep. She was drawn to PAFA as a Docent because of her love of the collection and desire to make it accessible to the community. Over time, her involvement expanded; she joined the Women's Committee in 2001 and served as its President from 2006 to 2008. McCollum became a Trustee in 2008, Co-Chair of the Development Committee and a vital member of the Executive Committee in 2010, and joined the Board's Officers first as Assistant Treasurer in 2010 and then Vice-Chair in 2015. Her efforts to expand PAFA's base of support are evident in all facets of the organization. As a Trustee, McCollum also lent her acumen to the Finance and Investment Committees and the Marketing, Exhibition, and other important committees.

In response to the historic nature of the appointment, McCollum shared, "I am honored to join PAFA's history of significant firsts for females. Margaretta and Anne Claypoole Peale were the first women in PAFA’s first annual exhibition in 1811. May Howard Jackson was the first African American woman to receive a PAFA scholarship. Cecilia Beaux was the first full-time professor, and hers was the first work of art by a woman purchased for the permanent collection. Continuing to expand and diversify our permanent collection and exhibitions is a cornerstone of our vision; PAFA is an inclusive, creative community of artists and audiences seeking education, inspiration, representation, and dialogue." She continued, "We are uniquely positioned to continue to deepen and strengthen PAFA's brand as the art institution that promotes the life-cycle of the artist. PAFA provides exceptional experiences for students and visitors of all ages utilizing our incredible art-making facilities, talented faculty, curators, and alumni, as well as our world-class collection of American art."


Recent changes to PAFA’s Board, including McCollum’s appointment, and staff are part of a strategic vision for a more collaborative leadership. Two new trustees, Robert Williams, Jr., President & CEO, The Best Males, LLC, Director of Diverse and Small Business Engagement, Supplier Division Office, Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Bryan Baugh, MD, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Global Medical Affairs Leader, Infectious Diseases & Vaccines, have been appointed in 2021. The current Vice-Chairs Reginald M. Browne and Eric W. Noll, will be joined by trustees Emily Cavanagh and Joseph D. Culley, who start their term on July 1. This structure of four Vice-Chairs is another first for PAFA. Since its founding, PAFA has acknowledged women's contributions. Their founding documents include the influential Elizabeth Willing Powel as a signatory, and today PAFA is recognized as a pioneer in collecting art by women. Recognizing women continues with two senior staff promoted to work in partnership to improve PAFA's core functions and relevance to all its audiences. PAFA will shift museum operations to Monica Zimmerman, the Vice President of Public Education and Engagement. Ms. Zimmerman has been with PAFA for fifteen years, with a track record of expanding museum education audiences, including the current student body and alumni and optimizing the Visitor Services and Continuing Education operations. Dr. Anna O. Marley, currently the Kenneth R. Woodcock Curator of Historical American Art & Director of the Center for the Study of the American Artist, will add the vice president of Museum Research and Scholarship. Dr. Marley has been with PAFA for twelve years and will lead a museum team focused on exhibitions, acquiring new works, and the stewardship of PAFA's vast collection through its registration, imaging, archiving, and conservation programs. Dr. Marley is a scholar of American art and material culture from the colonial era to 1945.


McCollum is committed to access and equity for all in the arts and art education. Her first role as a volunteer Docent remains one of her fondest because she recognized the same awe in the eyes of each student group she toured that she had on her first visit to PAFA. For 30 years, she has led by example with her dedication and support of PAFA's mission, the art college, and the art museum. McCollum has proven her ability to apply an equity lens as a core value of PAFA. McCollum's life experiences reflect a global perspective and an intentional commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging as a guiding principle in her work with the board, staff, students, and visitors.


“PAFA needs a solid strategic vision and inclusive, collaborative leadership. Anne sets this very positive tone," Clint Jukkala Executive Dean of the College of Fine Arts. After spending time with a PAFA student who could not afford essential art tools and instruments to achieve his vision, she rose to the challenge with a sustainable solution and created the Fine Art Venture Fund. The first program of its kind at PAFA, the fund allows students to engage in a grant-seeking process, in which they develop a unique art project, write a grant proposal, and, for the semi-finalists in the process, present their work to funders. Jukkala continued, "Anne has always been extremely supportive of students and the school. I worked with Anne on the Fine Art Venture Fund that she conceived and launched in 2014. Through her innovative thinking and strong leadership, she has made the Venture Fund one of PAFA's most important annual events, contributing thousands of dollars every year to student initiatives."

"Anne can see the possible and make it doable. PAFA needs a visionary leader with the skills to execute the detailed planning to get things done. Anne is this person. Along with Anne's commitment to PAFA's school and museum, she also has compassion and caring for the people involved," shared Emeritus Trustee of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, a former trustee of the New Hampton School, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Perez Art Museum Miami, Roger Ballou.


An engaged philanthropist, McCollum seeks to create new opportunities within established organizations while also providing support for general operating expenses. "Anne's proven ability to ask the hard questions, look deeply at new opportunities and challenges, and commit to supporting change at PAFA is exactly the sort of governance that will let PAFA's staff innovate and push forward new ideas for a new PAFA," commented Zimmerman, Vice President of Public Education, Engagement, and Museum Operations. "It is rare that Boards spend the sort of time with their public audiences that Anne did as a docent, investing in community experiences on a personal 1:1 level, and learning to know the institution they govern so thoroughly, from the front steps to the Board room."

McCollum's philanthropy goes beyond PAFA. During her tenure at MANNA, an organization supporting individuals at nutritional risk because of illness with counseling and nourishing meals, McCollum was vice-chair of the board of directors, chaired the development committee, and co-chaired the capital campaign. McCollum has helped sustain the mission of InLiquid to make art accessible to all. InLiquid exhibits over 300 artists in 40+ free, public exhibitions in 10+ venues throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area. Anne also served on the board of the Nantucket Comedy Festival/Stand UP & Learn and supports several other organizations including the Nantucket Historical Association.


McCollum is passionate about artists and the transformative power of art. Her contemporary art collection comprises paintings, sculpture, photography, and ceramics by mid-career and some emerging artists. A few of the artists represented in her collection include Kehinde Wiley, Rina Banerjee, Ross Bleckner, Odili Donald Odita, David McShane, John Wesley, Sarah McEneaney, and Clint Jukkala. Also of note is a suite of work created to fund social justice by Didier William and Mark Thomas Gibson. The collection reflects her own beliefs on the importance of equity, our relationships with the natural world, global warming, collaboration, and travel.

During the pandemic, she added ceramic works by Marguerita Hagan and a portrait of the Chevalier de Saint-Georges by Elizabeth Colomba. "I had the pleasure to meet Anne through PAFA. The Academy invited me to be part of an online zoom conversation. After the talk, Anne contacted me to converse and learn more about my work. She decided right there and then to collect my work," commented Colomba. "While I haven't known Anne for long, she has impressed me with her candor, generosity, and honesty. It's one of those encounters I'll value and cherish."

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