Sonja Lunde has begun her role as director of the University of Vermonts Fleming Museum of Art
I am deeply honored and excited for this opportunity to return to my roots and become part of the institution Ive admired since learning the story of my grandfathers photograph. I believe the privilege of working and teaching in museums is a joyful and serious endeavor teeming with opportunities for learning, discovery, and positive change. Art and artists have the unique ability to challenge us to examine ourselves, the world in which we live, and I believe that museums do not occupy neutral space within those conversations, Lunde said. As the Flemings new director, I am committed to building on the important work already in progress to explore what our museum can do in service to its students, faculty, and other communities to promote justice and become a better version of itself.
University of Vermont Provost and Senior Vice President Patricia Prelock said in a memo recently sent to campus leaders, I am excited to welcome Sonja home to Vermont and to UVM to lead the Fleming as we focus on outreach to local communities and greater integration into the academic life of campus.
Lunde comes to the Fleming from the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) at the University of Utah, most recently serving as deputy director for planning and program. A seasoned administrator, she has extensive experience with organizational change management, mentoring, strategic planning, and programming innovation across museum departments. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from George Washington University and a Master of Arts in Organizational and Strategic Communication from the University of Utah, where her thesis focused on communication essentials for university art museum leaders.
Lunde has a strong, demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work in the museum field. As vice president of the Western Museums Association Board, she helped lead that organizations DEI Strategy Taskforce, and she was an early member of the group, Museums as Sites of Social Action (MASS Action). She is eager to continue and expand the excellent work of the Fleming Reimagined, begun by the Fleming staff under the leadership of retiring Director Janie Cohen, and connect it to existing university-wide DEI strategic planning processes.
At the UMFA, Lunde provided leadership, strategic vision, and managerial oversight for the museums daily operations. She worked to align museum and university goals and priorities by dismantling organizational silos to transcend traditional boundaries between individuals and groups. Her work there centered on collaboration with students, faculty, and staff and prioritized DEI throughout the scope of museum operations, including curatorial and collections management, student and professional mentorship, recruitment and hiring practices, and community engagement.
Born and raised in Vermont, Lunde has a special relationship to the Fleming, as one of her grandfathers photographs from his days as a World War II naval photographer was featured in an exhibition at the museum. She is eager to join the Fleming at an exciting time of new activities and partnerships, including the integration of the museum with UVMs new School of the Arts.