Frye Art Museum appoints Jamilee Lacy as Executive Director

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Frye Art Museum appoints Jamilee Lacy as Executive Director
Ms. Lacy comes to the Frye from Providence College Galleries, Rhode Island, where she has served as Inaugural Director and Chief Curator since 2014.

SEATTLE, WA.- The Frye Art Museum Board of Trustees announces the appointment of Jamilee Lacy as the museum’s Executive Director following a comprehensive international search. Ms. Lacy comes to the Frye from Providence College Galleries, Rhode Island, where she has served as Inaugural Director and Chief Curator since 2014. Beginning March 1, 2023, Lacy will assume the director role, which was previously held by Joseph Rosa through March 2022.

“I am honored to have been selected as the Frye’s Executive Director,” says Lacy. “I am inspired by the museum’s supportive board, talented and generous staff, and the incredible creative energy in Seattle. It is especially meaningful to be joining the arts community in a city where breaking from convention is the model for innovative thinking. I believe the Frye is uniquely poised to collaborate with this region’s wealth of talent to explore the most urgent social, cultural, and artistic questions of our time through a lens that is international, intersectional, and intergenerational.”

“In Jamilee Lacy, we recognized an energetic and visionary leader whose outgoing presence and inspiring demeanor will benefit Frye staff and audiences, but also the city at large,” said Frye Board Co-President Stuart Williams, who chaired the search committee. “In addition to an immediate enthusiasm for the Frye’s accessibility as a free art museum, Jamilee offered an impressive combination of big-picture ideas and specific strategies to leverage the museum’s existing strengths into even greater community impact.”

In her current role, Lacy has established Providence College Galleries (PCG) as an innovative contemporary arts institution with an acclaimed exhibitions program and permanent collection. Under her leadership, PCG has seen unprecedented growth of attendance numbers, earned revenue, and program offerings. She also committed the institution to deeper public engagement, co-founding two cooperative organizations on its behalf: Interlace Grant Fund, which provides emergency and project grants to local artists, and My HomeCourt, a public art initiative that fosters community through the revitalization of basketball courts and city parks facilitated by cutting-edge contemporary artists. 

A prolific curator, Lacy has organized dozens of contemporary art exhibitions and projects. Much lauded recent exhibitions at PCG include Sheida Soleimani’s Ghostwriter, which told the story of two Iranian political refugees, and Beyond Bauhaus, a series of shows that explored global contemporary artists’ meditations on the influential German art school. In 2022, she was commissioning curator of The Trustees of Reservations’ Art & Landscape program, for which she organized “Counterculture,” a monumental art installation by Rose B. Simpson on the ancestral lands of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans (present-day Williamstown, MA). In 2020, Lacy received a curatorial research fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in support of the forthcoming exhibition Digital River, Burning Mountain: Shanshui Art Now. In 2023, she will launch major projects by artists Sanford Biggers and Edie Fake.

Lacy previously worked on curatorial and education teams at Northwestern University and Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City; and DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague, Czech Republic. She holds a BFA in Art and Art History from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an MA in Comparative Art & Literature from Northwestern University, and was a Class of 2022 Fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership.

“It’s an exciting time at the Frye on many fronts,” said Interim Director and Chief Curator Amanda Donnan. “Jamilee is a great leader for this moment—she is visionary, collaborative, and excels at recognizing and amplifying the unique contexts that make spaces like the Frye so special. With a strong community focus, I think she will help us forge new connections and meet our audiences where they are. On behalf of the staff and Board, we look forward to working with her to continue reimagining how a free museum can be welcoming for all.”

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