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Business Observer Tuesday, Mar. 10, 2015 7 years ago

Sarasota art museum paints new leader

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Anne-Marie Russell, coming from Arizona, will run the Sarasota Museum of Art.

SARASOTA — Anne-Marie Russell, who has spent the past decade running a contemporary art museum in Arizona, was named executive director of the Sarasota Museum of Art.

Russell will start her new position in May, according to a release. The museum, SMOA, just south of downtown Sarasota in the former Sarasota High School building, is scheduled to open in early 2016. The museum will be the first in Sarasota devoted to modern and contemporary art, and includes nearly 60,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 110-seat multi-purpose auditorium, a sculpture court and an indoor/outdoor cafe.

The entire SMOA project, says Russell in an interview with the Business Observer, is unique nationwide for its scope and depth. “These opportunities don't come along every day,” says Russell. “Sarasota is a pretty amazing place.”

Russell has been executive director and chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson since 2003. She managed the adaptive re-use of three facilities there, according to the release, and she also fostered economic development in Tucson. Russell has also taught at the University of Arizona and created documentary films.

“We are excited to have Anne-Marie take the reins at SMOA and bring her expertise to help us build a world-class museum of modern and contemporary art in Sarasota,” Ringling College President Larry Thompson says in the release.

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