Mary Kennedy of Little Rock has been named as the director of the new Windgate Museum of Art at Hendrix College.
The Windgate Museum of Art will be part of the Miller Creative Quad, which is currently under construction. Scheduled to open in spring 2020, the museum is funded by the Windgate Foundation.
The longtime CEO of the Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kennedy brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in the arts and humanities, with an extensive background in strategic planning, financial management, exhibition development, collection management, and fundraising. During her career, she has built long-term relationships with board members, staff, colleagues, partners, funders, government agencies, and constituents.
At Hendrix, she will oversee the College’s permanent collection, develop exhibitions, provide hands-on learning opportunities in museum and curatorial work to Hendrix students, cultivate relationships for fundraising and special projects, and coordinate outreach programs to engage the surrounding community with the work of the museum.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the new Windgate Museum of Art at Hendrix College. The launch of the museum will transform the Hendrix experience for students, faculty, and alumni, and I’m delighted to be a part of that,” Kennedy said. “Connecting the museum to the broader community will allow for new and exciting opportunities to expand the dialogue about art and contemporary life in Conway, as well as across the entire state.”
The Windgate Museum will be a pedagogical resource for the College and an interdisciplinary space that engages students and faculty from across the campus. In addition to the museum, the Creative Quad will include new office, practice, and classroom facilities for the Department of Music, a new auditorium and industry-standard film screening room, and living space for 100 students on the upper floors.
“We are so fortunate to have someone of Mary’s stature in the arts community to join our community and lead the Windgate Museum,” said Hendrix President Bill Tsutsui. “With her passion and proven record of success for connecting the community with the arts, the Windgate Museum will be an incredible resource for our campus, our city, and our state.”
Kennedy served as CEO and Executive Director of Mid-America Arts Alliance/ExhibitsUSA in Kansas City, Missouri, for more than a dozen years. She raised more than $25 million for the organization and developed a national program in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities. She also led the team that created HELP (Hands-on Experiential Learning Project), a nationally recognized Institute of Museum and Library Services-funded museum development program, which has provided multi-year, in-depth training to staffs and boards of more than 100 museums across the region.
Kennedy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from the University of Kansas and earned her Master of Arts degree in art history and museum studies from the University of Southern California. Since 2016, she has worked as a private consultant, assisting arts and culture organizations in Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, and Missouri.
She began her work at Hendrix on January 7.