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Arts & Entertainment The Bascom appoints new executive director

Jane Jerry is the new executive director of The Bascom.Jane Jerry has been appointed Executive Director of The Bascom Visual Arts Center in Highlands.

Willis Willey, chair of the Board of Trustees, made the announcement Friday, Feb. 25, following the conclusion of a national search.

“Jane has extensive experience in developing and directing audience-focused institutions and we are delighted that she will be at the helm as The Bascom advances to its next stage of development,” said Willey.

Jerry, currently a resident of Nashville, Tenn., was most recently the Project Planning Director for Exploration Station, the Republic of Ireland’s first interactive science center. Its exhibition and program plan will be grounded in the fusion of science and art. Prior to her appointment in Ireland, Jerry was the President and CEO of Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville, TN (1994-2004). During her tenure at Cheekwood, she led a capital campaign that resulted in an $18.5 million investment in the gardens and facilities, and the Cheekwood Museum of Art attained accreditation by the American Association of Museums.

Additionally, Jerry was the founding executive director of the Children’s Museum of Rhode Island from 1976-1984 and the Houston Children’s Museum 1984-1994; the latter was rated the No. 1 children’s museum in the nation by Parent’s Magazine.

“Our Search Committee was impressed that over 100 qualified applicants were keenly interested in this position,” said Bob Fisher, the search committee chair. “We are convinced that Jane is the ideal person to fill this position due to her consumer-focus, management skills and creative program development experience.”

The Bascom is a vibrant visual art center that serves the communities of Highlands/Cashiers, and the surrounding region. Founded 25 years ago, The Bascom was recently reborn on its new $14 million campus that includes more than 25,000 sq. ft. of new, state-of-the-art historic timbered facilities, located on a sixplus acre pastoral property. It offers world-class exhibitions, learning opportunities and open studio time for visitors of all ages and abilities. Its goal is to serve both seasonal and full time residents and to act as a premier destination for those interested in art (both fine art and craft) throughout the South.

“In Jane Jerry, The Bascom has hired one of the true leaders of the museum field,” said Ford W. Bell, president of the American Association of Museums (AAM). “The 21,000 members of AAM have certainly benefitted from Jane's wisdom and vision over the years, through her work as an advisor to the Museum Assessment Program, the development of that program’s Community Engagement facet, and of course her service on AAM’s board of directors.”

In addition to holding leadership positions at the American Association of Youth Museums, Jerry served as a Board Member of AAM from 1993-1996 and Chaired the Museum Assessment Program Advisory Committee 1993-1996.

Jerry follows Linda Steigleder who led The Bascom through its major growth phase when its facilities not only expanded, but also its visitation increased from 9,000 people in 2008 to 25,000 in its first six months of open hours in 2009.

The Bascom is open year-round. The galleries and The Shop are open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more details on Bascom winter activities, visit www.thebascom.org or call (828)526-4949.


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