Dr. Robert Knight Announces Retirement After Ten Years as Chief Executive Officer of Tucson Museum of Art

September 18 / 2015

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Dr. Robert Knight Announces Retirement After Ten Years as Chief Executive Officer of Tucson Museum of Art

TUCSON, ARIZONA (September 8, 2015) – After ten years of steering the Tucson Museum of Art (TMA) through many positive changes, Dr. Robert Knight, Chief Executive Officer, has announced his plans to retire. No end date has been set, as Dr. Knight stated, “I serve at the pleasure of the board, and pledged to them that I would stay as long as it takes to effect a smooth and orderly transition.” A national search for his replacement has been initiated.

“It’s been a distinct pleasure and an honor. After more than 30 years in the profession, it’s now time. Change is not only good for an organization, it is essential,” Dr. Knight said. “I have absolutely loved my tenure at TMA and I am honored to have been a member of the museum profession. I have always tried to balance artistic and audience interests through the presentation of a wide range of exhibitions and educational programs. The arts are vital to a healthy community’s future and quality of life, and I truly believe that great cities need great art programs.”

Under Dr. Knight’s leadership the Tucson Museum of Art has developed into a regionally and nationally acclaimed institution. Last season’s The Figure Examined: Masterworks from the Kasser Mochary Art Foundation, tripled existing attendance records and set a new aspirational standard for the Museum. Dr. Knight has more than doubled the museum’s endowment, expanded its café, and opened a new state-of-the-art gallery dedicated to Latin American art. He presented highly popular exhibitions featuring Andy Warhol Portfolios: Life and Legends, Ansel Adams, A Legacy, and Who Shot Rock and Roll, A Photographic History 1955- Present.

Michael Hanson, TMA Board President said, “On behalf of the board, staff, and volunteers at the Tucson Museum of Art, we are extremely proud of, and grateful for, all that Robert has accomplished for the Museum over the past ten years. We will miss him dearly but his tenure has left the Museum in a much stronger position than ever before in its 91-year history. Once retired, we look forward to following his artistic and literary pursuits. He is a one-of-a-kind director who was able to move the organization forward with aplomb, while also being a champion of inclusive values and the highest curatorial quality.”

“While I will most certainly miss the day-to-day interactions with our community, it is the good people on staff and our many dedicated volunteers, truly the very best of the best, that I will miss the most. In the final analysis, it’s all about people, and it is they that make saying goodbye so hard,” Dr. Knight said.

Prior to TMA, Dr. Knight was the executive director of the Yellowstone Art Museum in Montana and the founding director of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA). He holds a Bachelor of Science in Cultural Anthropology and Fine Art from NE Wesleyan University, where his fieldwork was as a photographer and writer for the American Indian Movement (AIM). He earned a Master of Education degree from Harvard University focusing on the study of creativity at Harvard’s “Project Zero” – a celebrated and on-going research project – along with a Master of Fine Art and a Doctor of Education in Arts Administration from Columbia University in New York.

He and his wife, Jana, intend to remain in Tucson.

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