The head of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the state’s main repository for visual art, has been named to the board of a prestigious arts foundation.
Gretchen Dietrich, UMFA’s executive director since 2010, is one of eight people named to the newly formed board of directors of Art Bridges, a foundation that aims to extend access to fine art around the country.
The appointment, University of Utah President Ruth Watkins said in a statement, “is well-deserved recognition of Gretchen’s expertise and stature among museum leaders across the country.” Watkins added that “this prestigious appointment elevates Gretchen’s impressive work to the national stage.”
Art Bridges was founded by philanthropist Alice Walton, an heir to the Walmart fortune. She will serve as the board’s chair.
Art Bridges has already made connections with UMFA. The nonprofit, along with the Terra Foundation for American Art, gave a $2 million grant to a program that allowed the Smithsonian American Art Museum to loan out paintings to five museums in the Western United States, including UMFA.
UMFA picked three paintings — Georgia O’Keeffe’s 1932 cityscape “Manhattan,” Thomas Moran’s 1892 landscape “Mist in Kanab Canyon, Utah,” and Alma Thomas’ 1972 abstract “Red Sunset, Old Pond Concerto” — that are now on display at the museum, at 410 Campus Center Drive, on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City. They will be on display through Oct. 4, 2020.
Art Bridges also loaned UMFA a fourth painting, Diego Rivera’s 1931 work “La Ofrenda,” which is hanging in the same gallery as the O’Keefe.
Besides Dietrich and Walton, the new board members are:
- Ron Bigelow, executive director of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Ark. (home of both Walmart headquarters and Art Bridges’ offices).
- Charles M. Diker, founder and board chairman of Cantel Medical Corp.
- Michael Govan, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
- Glenn D. Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in New York.
- Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation.
- Pauline Willis, director and CEO of the American Federation of Arts.