Olivia Miller has been appointed the director of the University of Arizona Museum of Art
(UAMA), effective immediately. Miller becomes the first woman to serve as the institutions director.
Miller, a University of Arizona alumna (BA 05, Art History and Studio Art), earned her masters in art history from the University of Oregon. She joined the museum as Curator of Education in 2012, overseeing the docent and education programs before becoming Curator of Exhibitions in 2014. She has curated more than 30 exhibitions during her tenure, overseeing the restoration and return of the UAMAs stolen Willem de Kooning painting, Woman-Ochre.
She served as interim director for the past 10 months.
Olivia has done outstanding work as interim director, and I am delighted that she will be taking on this role permanently, said Andy Schulz, vice president for the arts at the University of Arizona. Olivia understands the critical role that university art museums play as vibrant hubs for teaching and learning, research and innovation, and community engagement in and through the visual arts. I look forward to partnering with Olivia to elevate the UAMA on campus, in our community, and nationally as a model for others to follow. A key initiative will be partnering with the university and visionary donors to build a new state-of-the-art facility in which to fully realize the transformative impact of the museum.
I am thrilled and honored to take on this new role at UAMA and continue to work with its incredible staff and collection, said Miller. University art museums are special institutions and the University of Arizona is a dynamic campus with endless possibilities for interdisciplinary collaborations.
At this exciting time of renewal both here at UAMA and in the field at large, we will embark on a new strategic plan to build upon the museums strengths while creating new approaches that center university and community impact, shape our collections to reflect diverse creative experiences, and enact positive social change.
In 2021, Miller curated the UAMAs largest exhibition in over a decade, The Art of Food: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation. The exhibition was accompanied by a bilingual catalogue, and is travelling to six venues through 2025.
This past fall, Miller presided over Restored: The Return of Woman-Ochre, which traces the incredible story of the de Kooning painting stolen from the university in 1985, recovered in 2017, restored by the J. Paul Getty Museum, and returned to Tucson in 2022.
For over four decades, UAMA has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museum (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nations museums. Less than four percent of all museums in the United States are accredited, an accomplishment of the highest quality educational programming, exhibitions, and collections.