Accomplished museum leader named new director of Chazen Museum of Art

July 21, 2017 By Käri Knutson
Photo: Chazen Museum of Art

The Chazen Museum of Art, as seen from East Campus Mall. Photo: Jeff Miller

Amy Gilman will lead the Chazen Museum of Art as its new director starting Sept. 11.

Gilman has worked at the Toledo Museum of Art since 2005, most recently as deputy director. As a member of the senior management team, she was responsible for the overall operations of the museum and has, for the last year, been the leader of the campus master planning process. In addition to her administrative portfolio, Gilman curated many exhibitions during her time in Toledo, oversaw the development of an innovative artist residency program, and brought diverse and thought-provoking programming and acquisitions to the museum.

She earned her doctorate in art history at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio; a master of fine arts in photography from Columbia College in Chicago; and a bachelor’s degree in performance studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Amy Gilman Toledo Museum of Art

“I am enthusiastic to join the Chazen Museum of Art at this important moment in its history. I was aware of the strength of the collection and the wonderful buildings, and that certainly prompted my initial interest,” Gilman says. “I am looking forward to exploring the university and getting involved in the Madison arts community while I immerse myself in this great museum. Ultimately, what brought me here was the clear commitment from the university, museum staff, faculty and donors to the vision of a university museum that engages students and the community while advancing scholarship.”

Gilman replaces longtime director Russell Panczenko, who is retiring after 33 years of service.

As director, Gilman will report to Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf.

“We are pleased to have someone with such a passion not only for art, but also in promoting artwork to new audiences,” says Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf. “Her experience as both a curator and leader who finds innovative ways to engage the public will help guide the Chazen into an exciting new phase.”

The director of the Chazen Museum of Art is responsible for the 176,000 square-foot art museum whose collection comprises approximately 20,000 works of art, the second-largest collection of art in Wisconsin.  The Chazen collection covers diverse historical periods, cultures and geographic locations, from ancient Greece, Western Europe and the Soviet Empire to Moghul India, 18th-century Japan and modern Africa. The collection continues to grow through significant artwork donations and acquisitions, and is funded entirely by private funds; no public money has ever been used to purchase art.

The staff of the Chazen Museum of Art serves the campus community and represents the university to the people of the state of Wisconsin, the region and beyond, as well as the scholarly community at large. The director provides conceptual leadership through specialized knowledge of the museum discipline and is responsible for overall growth and management of the museum, which is an integral part of the university.

The Chazen Museum of Art opened in 1970 as the Elvehjem Art Center (named for the president of the University from 1958 to 1962) to further the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s mission of education, research and public service. In 1978 it became the Elvehjem Museum of Art, and in 2005, in honor of a lead gift for expansion from alumni Simona and Jerome Chazen, was renamed the Chazen Museum of Art. The expansion opened in October 2011, doubling the size of the museum. The new building is joined to the Conrad A. Elvehjem building by a dramatic and functional bridge gallery.