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Seattle Art Museum Director Kimerly Rorschach to Step Down

Kimerly Rorschach, director and CEO of the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), has announced that she will retire in the fall of 2019 after seven years at the helm of the institution. Under her leadership, SAM has increased its endowment by $60 million, seen a rise in attendance and membership levels, and made significant acquisitions. Rorschach also spearheaded the renovation and expansion of the Seattle Asian Art Museum and will step down following the completion of the project, which aims to preserve and restore the institution’s historic Art Deco building and add 12,000 square feet of space for exhibitions and other programming.

“It has been a tremendous honor to lead the Seattle Art Museum during this exciting period of challenge and growth,” said Rorschach. “I am so proud of all that we have accomplished, and of our incredible SAM staff, whose dedication has inspired me every step of the way. I am also enormously grateful to SAM’s board of trustees and generous supporters, whose leadership has underpinned our many successes. With the downtown expansion and Olympic Sculpture Park, and now the rebirth of the Seattle Asian Art Museum, SAM’s three sites are poised to serve the community for many years to come.”

Prior to joining SAM in 2012, Rorschach was the founding director of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. She also previously served as the director of the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art and held curatorial positions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia. She is a former president of the Association of Art Museum Directors and is currently on the board of New York’s Center for Curatorial Leadership, which was founded by Agnes Gund.

Commenting on Rorschach’s decision to resign, Stewart Landefeld, chair of SAM’s board of trustees, said: “SAM has flourished under Kim’s leadership. Her myriad of duties aside, she has been the number one champion for the museum. Her contribution to fundraising has been transformative, including raising nearly $125M towards the museum’s current $150M campaign to boost SAM’s endowment, renovate the Seattle Asian Art Museum, and expand programming across all three sites. Collegial, disciplined, and community-focused, Kim has been a great mentor and colleague. Her passion, drive, and desire to foster new connections between art, culture, and the community, will be greatly missed.”