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Amada Cruz. Photo: Airi Katsuta.

Seattle Art Museum Names Amada Cruz Director and CEO

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) has appointed Amada Cruz, who has led the Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona since February 2015, as its next director and CEO. She will be responsible for overseeing the exhibition and education program at the institution, which comprises the downtown museum, the Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park, and the Olympic Sculpture Park on the city’s waterfront, and will manage a staff of more than three hundred people. Cruz succeeds Kimerly Rorschach, who is retiring, and will take up the post in September.

“After an exhaustive search with an impressive array of candidates, it’s clear that Amada Cruz is the forward-thinking leader we’re seeking,” said Charles Wright, SAM trustee and chair of the search committee. “Amada’s strong vision, extensive experience as both a curator and a fundraiser, and keen understanding of the power of the visual arts will undoubtedly help her take SAM to the next level.”

Born in Havana, Cuba, Cruz has held various leadership positions throughout her thirty-year career. She has served as the executive director at San Antonio–based Artpace, director of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College—where she co-organized the first US museum survey of Takashi Murakami’s work—and acting chief curator and curator of exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Cruz has also worked as a grantmaker, as the founding program director for United States Artists in Los Angeles, and as head of Artadia, a nonprofit organization that offers merit-based awards across seven cities.

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