Thomas “Thom” Collins

Miami Art Museum Names New Director

Thomas “Thom” Collins, an arts administrator, art historian, educator and author with more than 15 years of experience serving as a director and curator at several of America’s top museums, has been named as the new director of Miami Art Museum (MAM). Collins will join MAM after serving for five years as director of the Neuberger Museum of Art in Westchester County, New York. Collins’ appointment comes just as MAM begins to transition into a new Herzog & de Meuron-designed building located in downtown Miami’s Museum Park. Groundbreaking on the project is scheduled to take place in late 2010, with the museum’s opening set for 2013.

© Herzog & de Meuron, visualization by Artefactorylab, Courtesy Miami Art Museum
The new Miami Art Museum at Museum Park, Herzog & de Meuron, Bay view

The search for MAM’s new director was spearheaded by a search committee chaired by MAM trustee Rose Ellen Greene. Collins will begin his tenure as director on August 16, 2010. He succeeds John Wetenhall, who has served as interim director of MAM since December 2009.

Recognized for his ability to advance institutional development and foster community engagement, Collins’ tenure at the Neuberger Museum of Art was highlighted by significant growth in the areas of attendance and annual giving, as well as the creation of major endowments for new programming initiatives and capital improvements. As director of MAM, Collins will oversee the day-to-day operations of the museum, as well as planning for the transition into its new facility.

“Thom’s expertise in museum management, coupled with his past success building broad-based public support for museums through programming and community outreach, make him the right fit to lead Miami Art Museum as we prepare to begin construction on our new home in Museum Park,” said Aaron Podhurst, chairman of MAM’s board of trustees. “Thom brings a fresh perspective on the role that art museums play in today’s communities, as well as a depth of knowledge in the areas of modern, contemporary, and Latin American art, all of which are core components of MAM’s artistic focus.”

Collins looks forward to raising Miami Art Museum’s profile as a broadly accessible resource for Miami’s diverse population, as well as to strengthening MAM’s role in the South Florida community. Along these lines, he will meet with community members, museum stakeholders, and public interest groups during his first months as MAM director, enabling him to learn first-hand about MAM’s role in Miami’s cultural and civic landscapes – and how that role can be expanded in the future.

“The construction of Miami Art Museum’s new building is an important step forward for this institution, but it is what will happen inside the building that promises to have the most significant long-term impact on the Miami community,” said Collins. “MAM’s new building will be both a catalyst for continued renewal in Miami’s urban core and a powerful force in coalescing Miami’s diverse population around the visual arts.”