May 17, 2018

Lauren Lessing Named Director of University of Iowa’s Stanley Museum of Art

IOWA CITY, IOWA—Following a nationwide search, the University of Iowa has named Lauren Lessing the eighth director of the Stanley Museum of Art. Lessing will join the museum on July 31; she is currently director of academic and public programs at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine

“Lauren brings a wealth of experience and is widely respected in the art world,” said University of Iowa interim executive vice president and provost Sue Curry. “She has tremendous vision and believes in the integral role that the Stanley Museum of Art plays in the academic mission of the University of Iowa.”

As director, Lessing will lead the museum’s curatorial, academic, and administrative activities and oversee the management of the its collection. She succeeds interim director Steve McGuire, who will return to his role as director of university’s School of Art and Art History. Lessing will direct the $50 million fundraising initiative for the Stanley’s new home, construction of which was halted in April to close a funding gap in the state’s budget.

“I look forward to returning to the Midwest and working with the museum staff, faculty, students, alumni and people of Iowa to further distinguish the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art as one of the finest academic art museums in the country,” Lessing said. “University art museums have the capacity to be nimble and experimental, and the Stanley is well positioned to lead the field with new and innovative practices to educate, enrich, and empower a diverse audience.”

Prior to her time leading academic outreach at the Colby College Museum of Art, Lessing held positions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Earlham College and two Masters degrees library science and art history and a PhD from Indiana University Bloomington.

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