Mary Ceruti named executive director of the Walker Art Center

Mary Ceruti

The Walker Art Center announced Mary Ceruti will be its next executive director.

Ceruti currently leads SculptureCenter, a multidisciplinary organization in Long Island City, N.Y., as director and chief curator. She began her career at Philadelphia Museum of Art before serving as the program director for Capp Street Project in San Francisco. Ceruti has been with SculptureCenter since 1999.

“Mary's visionary leadership of SculptureCenter, her dedication to supporting the most important emerging artists of our time, and her well-known track record of attracting and developing great talent made her a tailor-made choice to lead the Walker now. We couldn't be more excited for where Mary will take the Walker next.” said John Christakos, Walker Art Center board president.

Ceruti will assume the directorship of the Walker in late January 2019.

“The Walker has been a trailblazer in identifying the experimental and influential art and artists of its time, continually demonstrating the power of art to help us understand, navigate and shape the contemporary world,” said Ceruti. “I am honored to be selected as the next director of this great institution and believe it is uniquely positioned to create new models for how museums work with artists and diverse constituencies. I am looking forward to partnering with international artists and colleagues, the Minneapolis community, and the experienced and dedicated staff and board of the Walker to build on its world-class collection and ambitious programs.”

“On behalf of SculptureCenter's Board of Trustees, I would like to express my profound thanks to Mary Ceruti for dedicating 20 years to our institution. Throughout her tenure, Mary served SculptureCenter with distinctive impact and vision. As we enter our tenth decade, as a beloved and influential part of the artistic community in New York and beyond, we wish Mary the very best for her next chapter at such a distinguished and important institution as the Walker Art Center,” said SculptureCenter board chair, Andreas Beroutsos.

Ceruti notes the similar missions of the Walker and SculptureCenter.

“SculptureCenter and the Walker share a commitment to art and artists as catalysts in contemporary culture and both are working internationally to identify the art and artists that most creatively and urgently express the concerns, issues and ideas of our times. Both institutions commission artwork ensuring that artists have the resources and support to produce new, experimental work,” said Ceruti. “As a smaller organization with no collection and a commitment to emerging artists, SculptureCenter usually (but not always) works with artists at very early stages in their career and like the Walker, SculptureCenter often introduces artists to audiences either through their first U.S. show or a more thorough presentation of their work. The Walker and SculptureCenter have almost inverse approaches that are like two sides of the same coin.  SculptureCenter looks at the interdisciplinary field of contemporary art from the perspective of the history and legacy of sculpture while the Walker looks at sculpture, or painting, or performance, or film, from an interdisciplinary perspective.”

Ceruti's appointment concludes a nearly yearlong search led by the Walker's search committee.

“The search committee was impressed by the breadth, depth and diversity of candidates. Mary's commitment to both artists and community stood out to us all,” said search committee member Seena Hodges. “Mary is a dynamic and engaging individual. Her thoughtful leadership, experience and innate curiosity will certainly take the Walker to the next level.”

A Cleveland, Ohio, native, Ceruti has more than two decades of experience as a curator and arts executive. Before joining SculptureCenter in 1999, Ceruti worked as an independent writer and curator with various arts institutions and agencies, including the San Francisco Arts Commission.

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