AUSTIN, Texas—Jessie Otto Hite, director of the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin, today announced the appointment of Ann Hume Wilson as associate director of the Museum, effective May 17, 2004. As associate director, Wilson will oversee visitor services, marketing, public relations and publications. Wilson has served as director of marketing and communications for the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, since January 1997.
“We are very pleased to have Ann join the Blanton team,” said Hite. “In addition to her extensive experience in the arts community, Ann has expertise in leveraging the opportunities and navigating the complexities that come with major museum projects. Ann will be a critical part of our team as we move toward the completion of our new museum complex in late 2005.”
Jessie Otto Hite (left) and Ann Hume Wilson
Photo: Rick Hall
At the Walters, Wilson was the first person to hold the position of director of marketing and communications. She was responsible for developing the museum’s marketing and visitor hospitality programs and managing the institution’s retail operations, publications and public relations initiatives. She developed the marketing and visitor service planning for a $30 million major building renovation and grand reopening at the Walters and secured substantial local and regional attendance for many major exhibitions during her tenure.
“It’s quite an honor to have been selected for this position,” said Wilson. “The new Blanton museum facility will showcase the best of human creativity in a city that celebrates the creative spirit like no other. I am looking forward to being a part of this wonderful project and this wonderful community.”
Prior to joining the Walters’ staff, Wilson was manager of public relations and marketing for the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. At the High, Wilson oversaw marketing initiatives for the museum’s major exhibition, Rings: Five Passions in World Art, organized in conjunction with the Cultural Olympics Festival of the Centennial Olympic Games in summer 1996.
In addition to her 13 years working in museums, Wilson has extensive management experience in the performing arts. She has served in a variety of administrative and marketing capacities for some of the country’s leading arts organizations, including the Opera Company of Boston, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Charleston, South Carolina’s Spoleto Festival U.S.A.
A native of Washington D.C., Wilson graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She is an alumna of the prestigious Museum Management Institute of the Getty Leadership Foundation and is also a former Chairman of the Public Relations and Marketing Committee of the American Association of Museums. She was named “Attractions Professional of the Year” by the Baltimore Academy of Travel and Tourism in 2001.
About the Jack S. Blanton Museum Of Art
The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art is one of the foremost university art museums in the country and the leading art museum serving Austin and Central Texas. The Blanton’s permanent collection spans the history of Western civilization with more than 17,000 works of art from Europe, the United States and Latin America. As a teaching museum, the Blanton is an important center for scholarship, research and professional training in the visual arts. It also presents a wide range of special exhibitions and educational programs to the university and surrounding region. As the only encyclopedic art museum in the city, the Blanton also serves as a vital cultural cornerstone for Austin, contributing to the high quality of life for which the city is known. Through its role at The University of Texas at Austin, a flagship institution of higher learning in Texas, the Blanton enriches the cultural life of the entire state, helping people throughout Texas appreciate the history and role of the arts in their lives, work, and communities.
The Blanton is currently developing a new museum complex that will provide much-needed space for the Blanton’s rapidly growing collection, as well as the museum’s teaching, research and public programs. The new museum complex will comprise two facing buildings designed by Kallmann McKinnell and Wood Architects, Inc.—the 105,000-square-foot gallery building and the 50,000-square-foot education, visitor services and administration building. It will also feature a public plaza and garden designed by Peter Walker and Mel Chin, which will serve as a “village green” linking the Austin and university communities.
Near the heart of the city, at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Congress Avenue, the orientation of the museum complex will frame dramatic views of the State Capitol to the south and the university to the north. The museum will occupy more than 150,000 square feet, a dramatic increase from the 80,000 square feet used by the Blanton previously. The design will complement the Blanton’s growing art collection, provide significant space for temporary exhibitions and enhance the range of experiences that visitors have with works of art.