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San Antonio Museum of Art appoints Lisa Abel as new Chief Development Officer
At SAMA, Abel will design and lead a comprehensive development program, including major gifts, grants and other institutional funding, membership, annual giving, endowment funding, planned giving, events, and capital projects. Abel will report directly to the Museum’s Kelso Director, Emily Ballew Neff, PhD, while working with the Board of Trustees.



SAN ANTONIO, TX.- The San Antonio Museum of Art announces the appointment of Lisa Abel as its new Chief Development Officer. Abel most recently served as the Director of Development at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago where she lead a far-reaching, multi-channel development program for annual and multi-year growth, expanding the museum’s exhibition, education, endowment, and operational funding while also securing important gifts of art for the museum’s collection. Abel began her new role on August 1.

At SAMA, Abel will design and lead a comprehensive development program, including major gifts, grants and other institutional funding, membership, annual giving, endowment funding, planned giving, events, and capital projects. Abel will report directly to the Museum’s Kelso Director, Emily Ballew Neff, PhD, while working with the Board of Trustees.

“We are delighted to welcome Lisa to the Museum and to the city of San Antonio,” said Neff. “Her proven development experience across a wide range of cultural and community institutions gives her an exceptional ability to conceive and execute all facets of fundraising and philanthropic programming. As SAMA continues to evolve to meet the needs and represent the faces of the San Antonio community, she is the perfect choice to ensure that the next chapter in SAMA’s history is one that reflects its multi-faceted audience.”

Abel previously served as the Director of Development and Communication at the Currier Museum of Art, Chief Philanthropy and Marketing Officer for the Second Harvest Food Bank of South Louisiana, and Director of Advancement and Communication for KIPP New Orleans Schools. She also worked with Johnson & Johnson and Unilever on their social responsibility and corporate brand endeavors when living in New York. Throughout her career, Abel has been driven by a desire to maximize results in complex nonprofit environments via high-touch, high-impact campaigns and annual appeals while building and sustaining meaningful relationships with donors, members, and other audiences.

“I am delighted to be joining SAMA at this pivotal time. The Museum’s expansive collection, dynamic exhibitions, meaningful community programs, and deep connections to audiences provide such terrific engagement opportunities,” Abel said. “I am excited by the prospect of working with SAMA’s team, our Board of Trustees, and other influencers to strengthen these bonds within the city of San Antonio, the state of Texas, and the national arts and culture arena.”

“Recognizing San Antonio’s rich heritage and vibrancy, coupled with tremendous growth and energy, I am enthusiastic about the next era at SAMA, playing a key role in advancing our long-range sustainability, and becoming actively involved in the community,” she added.










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