AFA Names Kimerly Rorschach President of the Board of Trustees

(New York, NY, February 2, 2022) The American Federation of Arts (AFA) announces Kimerly Rorschach named President of the AFA’s Board of Trustees. As the nonprofit AFA looks forward to an exciting year of new exhibitions and programming, Rorschach brings her decades of museum leadership experience to support the AFA’s mission to create traveling art exhibitions and scholarly publications that expand art and ideas, providing increased access to art nationally and internationally.

Rorschach served as the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO of the Seattle Art Museum from 2012 until her retirement in September 2019. Previously, she was director of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (2004–2012) and of the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago (1994–2004). Rorschach holds a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and a PhD in art history from Yale University. She is a past president of the Association of Art Museum Directors and serves on the board of the Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL) in New York. She is the author of “Know Before You Go,” a handbook for new art museum directors published by the CCL in 2017. Rorschach also serves on the advisory board of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University.

A member of the AFA’s Board of Trustees since 2011, Rorschach has been an active trustee. She previously chaired the Exhibitions Committee for several years, expertly advising on the AFA’s exhibition roster and overall vision. As president of the AFA’s Board of Trustees, Rorschach will operate alongside the AFA’s director and CEO, Pauline Willis, to help fulfill the mission of the AFA. In recent years, the AFA has vastly expanded its exhibitions and programming, including a forward-looking 50% increase in presentations at partner museums. Rorschach’s inspired leadership will be instrumental in continuing this trajectory of growth.

“It is a great honor to lead the AFA’s Board of Trustees at this critical time for both the organization and for our network of partner museums,” said Rorschach. “I have served on the AFA board for over a decade and have had the privilege of helping to shepherd the exhibition program and to see firsthand the dramatic impact of AFA exhibitions across a range of communities around the country. As we look to the future growth of the AFA, I am excited to work with our visionary CEO, Pauline Willis; our talented staff; and our wise and generous board, in continued partnership with museums that seek to deepen and expand their engagement with diverse audiences.”

“We are tremendously excited to usher in a new era with Kimerly Rorschach now as President of the Board of Trustees,” said Pauline Willis. “Over the last ten years, we have benefited greatly from Kim’s curatorial expertise, knowledge of the field, and vast museum experience. At this juncture, having someone of Kim’s stature lead the board will be foundational to the AFA’s continued growth, expansion of programmatic offerings, and development of digital initiatives.”

In 2022, the AFA continues to explore new opportunities for the broadest access to and appreciation of the visual arts, launching new national touring exhibitions that add to an already robust schedule, including African Modernism in America and Art and Activism at Tougaloo College. Both exhibitions explore the complex histories of art collections assembled by Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Fisk University and Tougaloo College respectively). African Modernism in America is the first major traveling exhibition to examine the complex connections between modern African artists and American patrons, artists, and cultural organizations amid the interlocking histories of civil rights, decolonization, and the Cold War.  Art and Activism at Tougaloo College traces the birth and development of this significant and distinctive collection against a historic backdrop of civil rights protests during which the College became an unlikely hub of European and New York School modernism, later evolving into a repository for works by leading Black artists of the twentieth century.

About the American Federation of Arts

The American Federation of Arts is the leader in traveling exhibitions internationally. A nonprofit organization founded in 1909, the AFA is dedicated to enriching the public’s experience and understanding of the visual arts through organizing and touring art exhibitions for presentation in museums around the world, publishing exhibition catalogues featuring important scholarly research, and developing educational programs.


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