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Seattle Art Museum Has New Director

Marcie Sillman

Seattle Art Museum has a new director. KUOW's Marcie Sillman reports.


It's been more than one year since Derrick Cartwright left the top post at Seattle Art Museum (SAM). SAM has finally filled his shoes with Kimerly Rorschach.

Rorschach will take over a museum that was hit hard by the 2008 recession. SAM had partnered with now–defunct Washington Mutual (WAMU) to construct and finance its downtown museum building. When WAMU folded, JPMorgan Chase decided not to assume WAMU's lease. That left SAM without the money it needed to pay its mortgage. Kimerly Rorschach acknowledges that finances will pose the biggest challenge in her new job.

Rorschach: "It's an equation that must be solved. But I feel it's very doable. I always start with the mission, the program, what the museum is trying to achieve. And when the museum is achieving great things, and there's a wonderful audience, support in the community, great excitement about what's going on, finding the right financial balance is doable."

Rorschach comes to Seattle from Duke University, where she served almost eight years as director of the Nasher Museum of Art. Although the Nasher is significantly smaller than Seattle Art Museum, Rorschach points out her job was part of Duke's senior administration. She's used to strategic planning within the context of a large university. Kimerly Rorschach plans to take over SAM's directorship sometime this fall.

I'm Marcie Sillman, KUOW News.

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