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New Springfield Art Museum Director Shares Vision for the Future

The City of Springfield announced a new art director last week for the Springfield Art Museum.  KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has this report.

[sound of birds chirping]

Right now I am standing just outside the Springfield Art Museum nearby Phelps Grove Park, where it has been since 1958.  The Art Museum was founded in 1928 and has had several homes during its history.  The City of Springfield recently announced Nick Nelson as the new art director for the museum.   I talked with Nelson about his vision for the museum, and what he would like to see for the future.  

“I’m very excited about it.  I think the museum is a really wonderful organization with an incredible history, a wonderful collection, and we’re going to make sure it’s no longer the ‘little known jewel.’ We’re going to make sure it’s just the ‘jewel.’ You know, I think the primary thing is just to get it utilized.  Get people in the door, and get people to understand the wonderful resource within the community,” says Nelson. 

Nelson says he wants to reach out and find ways to build partnerships within the community. He says this will be a process and the first step is to assess how the museum fits within the community.  Nelson says in order to move forward, it is necessary to have a clear vision of the museum’s identity and what it has to offer.

“Looking at the community, and looking at the museum, and seeing the willingness to embrace collaboration, there seems to be a real strong support of the arts and a real understanding of the value of arts in the community,” Nelson says.

The art museum is home to more than 8,000 paintings, watercolors, sculptures, and prints from the 19th, 20thand 21stcenturies.  It also houses a 392 seat auditorium and an amphitheater.  Nelson will begin his new position in early August.  For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.