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Derek Gillman Steps Down as Executive Director and President of The Barnes Foundation, Joins Drexel University

December 04, 2013

Derek Gillman
The Barnes Foundation's Executive Director and President Derek Gillman will be stepping down to become a distinguished visiting professor at Drexel

The Board of Trustees of the Barnes Foundation have announced that Derek Gillman will be stepping down as executive director and president of the Barnes Foundation effective January 1, 2014, to become a distinguished visiting professor at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.

Gillman, who joined the Barnes in 2006, spearheaded the move of the Barnes Collection to its critically acclaimed new home and campus in central Philadelphia. During his seven year tenure he oversaw the fundraising campaign for the Barnes’s new $150 million-facility, the addition of $50 million to its endowment, the development of a professional staff for the institution and creation of a broad range of educational programs, exhibitions and publications. Since opening its new campus, annual attendance at the Barnes has grown from 60,000 per year to more than 325,000, and the membership expanded from 400 to 25,000.

Gillman informed the Barnes Board of his decision in September. At that time, Dr. Bernard Watson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees formed a search committee and set in motion the process for securing a new director. The Trustees have engaged Phillips Oppenheim, an executive search firm, to aid in this process. Until a new director is appointed, Margaret (Peg) Zminda, the Foundation’s Executive Vice President CFO & COO, will serve as acting director of the Barnes Foundation. Zminda joined the Barnes Foundation in December 2007 and has been a key leader in the development of the organization since that time. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago, and has more than 10 years of nonprofit leadership experience.

“Working with a terrific team of trustees and colleagues, I have achieved all I had hoped to for the Barnes – and more,” stated Gillman. “It has been a privilege to work with Tod Williams and Billie Tsien on this amazing building, to stabilize the finances, to build the staff, expand programming and create a vibrant new cultural institution for the city of Philadelphia and the world. The Barnes is really well positioned for the future and I am excited about going back into higher education where I have spent half of my career and where I can apply my experience in institution-building along with my long-standing academic interests.”

“Derek has successfully led the Barnes through a remarkable period of transition and transformation, enabling the Foundation to better advance Albert Barnes’s great vision,” stated Vice Chairman Joseph Neubauer.  “On behalf of the board of trustees, the staff of the Barnes, and the people we now serve regionally, nationally and internationally, I’d like to thank Derek for helping the Barnes become the outstanding institution that it is today and preparing it for the next phase of service to the community and the field.”

At Drexel, Gillman will contribute to the Department of Art & Art History and the Museum Leadership graduate program. He is the author of The Idea of Cultural Heritage (Cambridge University Press), and is currently president of the International Cultural Property Society. He has published and lectured on Chinese and early modern art, and cultural heritage, and was the Marina Kellen French Distinguished Visitor at the American Academy in Berlin in 2013.

Prior to joining the Barnes, Gillman served as president and director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (2001-2006), where he oversaw a significant expansion that entailed conversion of an early 20th century building into additional education, office and gallery space for the institution. In 2005 PAFA became the first visual arts organization to receive a Presidential Medal of Arts. Prior to his tenure at PAFA, Gillman served as deputy director of the National Gallery of Victoria, and from 1985-95 was keeper (director) of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia. He has been involved with four institutional expansion programs in his previous positions. 

About the Barnes Foundation
The Barnes Foundation ( was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” The Barnes holds one of the finest collections of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings, with extensive works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine and Giorgio de Chirico, as well as American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin and Maurice Prendergast, Old Master paintings, important examples of African sculpture and Native American ceramics, jewelry and textiles, American paintings and decorative arts and antiquities from the Mediterranean region and Asia. The Barnes Foundation’s Art and Aesthetics programs engage a diverse array of audiences. These programs, occurring at the Philadelphia campus, online, and in Philadelphia communities, advance the mission through progressive, experimental and interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

For more information, contact:

The Barnes Foundation
Jan Rothschild, Senior Vice President for Communications
Andrew Stewart, Director of Public Relations


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