WASHINGTON — In her first significant move as the new director of the National Gallery of Art, Kaywin Feldman has hired two Smithsonian executives to lead programs focused on the visitor experience.
Elisa Glazer, chief advancement officer at the Freer/Sackler Galleries, will serve as external affairs and audience engagement officer.
Kate Haw, director of the Archives of American Art, will become the collections, exhibitions and programs officer. They will start early next year.
The new positions are “outward facing” and reflect a gallery-wide effort to improve visitor services, said Feldman, who is in her seventh month as director of the national museum.
“In my listening sessions, I heard comments from the staff about a real drive to serve the nation and be visitor-centric in everything we do,” she said. The appointments coincide with a major visitor survey that will take most of 2020 to complete.
Haw and Glazer have worked at the museum before — Haw as a curatorial assistant and Glazer as deputy corporate relations officer — and have an insider’s understanding, Feldman said.
“But they have had great careers in between,” she added, “and the gallery will benefit from the breadth of their experiences at other places.”
The appointments are part of a reorganization of the museum’s executive structure to expand and diversify senior leadership, a priority of Feldman’s, who is the National Gallery’s first female director. With the addition of Haw and Glazer, the executive group increases to seven officers — four women and three men. The position of deputy director, now held by Franklin Kelly, will be abolished. Kelly will continue as chief curator, and will become the Christiane Ellis Valone Curator of American Paintings. He will be one of the seven senior officers.
Before joining the Freer/Sackler in 2017, Glazer worked for the Brookings Institution, Washington Corporate & Cultural Affairs and ran an arts and culture consulting firm in Atlanta. In her new role, she will lead the museum’s fundraising and audience development programs and build a department for visitor services and evaluation.
Haw has led the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art since 2013. Before that, she worked at National Building Museum, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the American Federation of Arts. She will supervise the gallery’s exhibition, education, music and film programs.
Feldman has yet to announce new exhibitions, the most public sign of a museum director’s priorities. Many ideas are being considered, she said, and “there are a lot that are close.”