Smart Museum Interim Leadership

last edited on Tue. September 8 2020

Jill Sterrett has decided to step down from her dual role as Interim Director of the Smart Museum of Art and Deputy Director for Museum Affairs and Strategic Impact. Amina Dickerson and Bill Michel will serve as Co-Interim Directors while the University of Chicago completes the search for a new Dana Feitler Director of the Smart Museum.

“Since Jill arrived from SFMOMA in 2018, she has had a significant impact on the Smart Museum, providing thoughtful leadership throughout her tenure and creating an integrated museum team. Through her ongoing work on Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40, Jill’s generous and inclusive approach to building community, partnerships, and systems will continue to benefit the Museum in the months to come. I thank her for her many contributions to the Smart,” writes David J. Levin, Senior Advisor to the Provost for Arts.

“I am pleased that Amina and Bill have agreed to collaborate with one another and the entire Smart staff to lead the Museum during this transition. They bring deep and wide-ranging experience in arts administration to their work at the Smart. Working closely with the Museum’s governing board, the Feitler Center’s faculty advisory committee, and staff, we are well-positioned to ensure the Smart Museum’s continued success as a new academic year gets underway,” continued Levin.

Amina Dickerson, President of Dickerson Global Advisors, has over 35 years of leadership experience in the non-profit, museum, corporate, and philanthropy sectors. She has served as President of the DuSable Museum of African American History and has held leadership positions at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, the Chicago Historical Society, and the Woods Fund of Chicago. Dickerson currently serves as Chair of the City’s Cultural Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the Art Institute’s Leadership Advisory Committee.

Bill Michel, Associate Provost and Executive Director of UChicago Arts and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, has played an active role in arts leadership at the University of Chicago since 1992. From fall 2015 through spring 2017, he served as the Interim Director of the Smart Museum, strengthening the connections between the Smart and the University and expanding the Museum’s community engagement programs. Among various responsibilities off-campus, Michel serves on the City’s Cultural Advisory Council and as a member of the board of the South Side Community Art Center. 

Jill Sterrett will be redoubling her commitment to art, artists, and contemporary museums through three interrelated opportunities — consulting on an emergent artist residency program in northern Wisconsin, collaborating on a project to lay the groundwork on the environmentally sustainable museum of the future with colleagues in Portugal, and launching a book project with a partner in London. She will also continue to work with the Smart in a consulting capacity to support the ambitious Toward Common Cause exhibition opening in 2021. 

Sterrett’s last day is October 16, 2020. To support a seamless transition, she will work closely with Dickerson and Michel beginning in mid-September, as they prepare to assume their new roles on October 17.

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