Wonder Women in the Arts – Leadership panel discussion on October 11, 2018

Laura Freebairn-Smith



Only one of the nation’s 13 largest museums is run by a woman. Women today are nearing equity in the arts, leading 48 percent of art museums, which is up from 43 percent three years ago. However, a gender gap persists at the largest museums — of those with budgets of $15 million and higher, just 30 percent have female directors. As the budgets grow, the ranks of women thin, with just three women heading the 20 largest-budget institutions in the association. In this workshop we explored the path women in the arts, particularly in museums, take to the top and the role strategic plans play in moving women leaders along that path.


Meet the Panelists:


Darsie Alexander is the chief curator for the Jewish Museum in NYC. Alexander has been the executive director of the Katonah Museum of Art in Katonah, New York, since 2014. Prior to that, she had been chief curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, senior curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and a photography curator at the Museum of Modern Art.
Kaywin Feldman has served as the director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) since 2008. She has used digital technologies to enhance audience engagement; diversified staff, audience, and board; and strategically acquired major collections and works of art for the collection. She is a past president of both the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

Pamela Franks is director of the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Franks was previously at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven since 2004, and is currently holding the titles of senior deputy director and curator of modern and contemporary art. She also previously worked at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas and holds a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Texas at Austin.