Dennis Scholl, 2015.

ArtCenter/South Florida Names Dennis Scholl President and Chief Executive and Announces Expansion Plans

Brett Sokol reports in the New York Times that Dennis Scholl, previously vice president for arts at the Knight Foundation in Miami, will become the president and chief executive of the nonprofit ArtCenter/South Florida this September. While at the foundation, Scholl expanded its philanthropy into the national arts arena, overseeing nearly $200 million in grants during his tenure from 2009 to 2015.

Kim Kovel, ArtCenter’s board chair, called the hiring of Scholl, one of Miami’s best-known contemporary art collectors, a “gamechanger.” Scholl has served on the boards of several museums, including the Pérez Art Museum Miami, where he donated nearly three hundred works in 2013 and remains a trustee.

The ArtCenter’s 2014 sale of one of its landmark buildings for $88 million, which was purchased for $684,000 in 1988, left the institution with an endowment of $94 million, the largest of any visual-arts organization in South Florida. Kovel also credits the institution’s prudent investing as well as a booming stock market for its strong financial footing, which will allow it to expand its program.

Scholl has implied that subsidized artist studios will remain at the core of ArtCenter/South Florida and that improvements will be made to its campus. The institution will also initiate a grant program to fund local artists’ new work and participation in exhibitions around the world. He stated that the goal is to transform the Miami art world into one that commands attention “beyond those five days in December” during Art Basel.

“We’ve seen an uneven development of what it takes to make a vibrant art scene in our community,” Scholl said. “We’re going to put the fuel where the artists are. We aspire to help our artists reach a point where, if you’re an international art collector, you have to consider Miami artists.”