RISD Museum Names Tsugumi Maki Director
July 25, 2023
PROVIDENCE, RI, July 25, 2023–The RISD Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Tsugumi Maki as its director effective October 10. Maki, who brings 25 years of experience in the museum field, is currently the chief exhibitions and collections officer at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).
“We look forward with great excitement to working with incoming RISD Museum Director Tsugumi Maki. We believe her experience, creativity and dedication to learning make her a perfect fit to carry on the great work of the museum, while at the same time preparing us for the urgencies of the future. On behalf of the museum and all its supporters we welcome Tsugumi to the RISD Museum family!” —Bob DiMuccio, chair of the RISD Museum Board of Governors
As chief exhibitions and collections officer at SFMOMA, Maki oversees exhibitions, collection and design programs contributing to the museum’s continued status as a global leader in the art world. During her tenure she has successfully overhauled SFMOMA’s exhibitions development strategy, resulting in captivating and groundbreaking art experiences for visitors. She has also played a crucial role in revamping the accession process, ensuring the careful and thoughtful growth of SFMOMA’s collection. One of Maki’s primary focuses has been fostering collaboration, creativity and growth within her division, creating a positive and inclusive work culture that values and supports the professional growth of the entire team.
“I am thrilled to welcome Tsugumi to RISD as our next museum director. During our search process, I was struck by her expertise, her inclusive and collaborative leadership style and her deep knowledge and experience at institutions we admire. In addition to extensive experience in the museum field, Tsugumi brings an artist’s eye to her work and a deep appreciation for makers that will be an added benefit to the RISD Museum.” —RISD President Crystal Williams
Prior to joining SFMOMA, Maki served as chief operating officer at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, where she focused on strengthening the museum’s institutional infrastructure. She also was associate director of operations and collections management at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, overseeing all collections and operational activities. Previous to Wellesley, Maki spent nearly 20 years at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, most recently serving as the head of gallery planning. While at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Maki played a key role in developing major expansion projects such as the Art of the Americas Wing and the Linde Family Wing galleries.
Maki holds an MFA from Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and a BS in Cinema & Photography from Ithaca College. Her global perspective and widespread respect within the industry further bolster her invaluable contributions to the field.
“I am honored to step into the role of director at the RISD Museum, a place teeming with creativity and talent. Our shared goal is to continuously challenge conventional museum experiences, fostering a space where visitors not only observe art, but actively engage with it. I am excited to collaborate with the incredible RISD team and explore innovative pathways that amplify creativity, inspire learning, and nurture an even more inclusive and vibrant community.” —Tsugumi Maki, incoming director of the RISD Museum
Maki is taking the helm at the RISD Museum at a crucial moment in which art, design and creative thinking are ascending as essential tools for shaping more livable futures. RISD is an institution that bears the responsibility to nurture and develop a burgeoning generation of thoughtful, empathetic, inspired future leaders. As such, RISD is committed to confronting complex issues, developing and socializing new ideas and cultivating multi-polar canons that de-center Europe and the United States, and to creating a more just, fair and sustainable society. As the RISD Museum’s director, Maki joins RISD’s institutional commitment to confront racism and other injustices in their many forms, and will lead the museum in fulfilling its mission to acquire, preserve, exhibit and interpret works of art and design representing diverse cultures, overseeing the growth and evolution of the museum’s collection. She will also lead and support an active exhibition and public programming schedule of the highest quality that seeks to offer an expanded view of artists, making and history, embracing the RISD Museum’s potential in unifying our community and enacting positive change.
Maki succeeds Sarah Ganz Blythe, who has served as the museum’s interim director since December 2020. Ganz Blythe joined the RISD Museum in 2009 as director of education and in 2014 became deputy director for exhibitions, education and programs, a role she has continued to hold as interim director and will return to upon Maki’s arrival.
About the RISD Museum
The RISD Museum believes that art, artists and the institutions that support them play pivotal roles in promoting broad civic engagement and creating more open societies.
Established in 1877 as part of a vibrant creative community, the RISD Museum stewards works of art representing diverse cultures from ancient times to the present. We interpret our collection with the focus on the maker and we deeply engage with art and artists, presenting ideas and perspectives that can be inspiring and complex. We aspire to create an accessible and inclusive environment that fosters meaningful relationships across all communities.
About Rhode Island School of Design
RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) is a creative community founded in 1877 in Providence, RI. Today, we enroll 2,620 students hailing from 59 countries. Led by a committed faculty, they are engaged in 44 full-time bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and supported by a worldwide network of over 31,000 alumni who demonstrate the vital role artists and designers play in today’s society.
Beyond facts and figures, what is the spirit of this community? Through a cross-disciplinary curriculum of studio-based learning and rigorous study in the liberal arts, RISD students are encouraged to develop their own personal creative processes, but they are united by one guiding principle: in order to create, one must question. In cultivating expansive and elastic thinking, RISD seeks to activate a critical exchange that empowers artists, designers and scholars to generate and challenge the ideas that shape our world. RISD’s mission, at both the college and museum, is not only to educate students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, but to transmit that knowledge and make global contributions.
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