Philly Socialholic: Barnes Foundation Names Thom Collins New Director

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On January - 8 - 2015

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The Board of Trustees of the Barnes Foundation announced that they have named Thomas “Thom” Collins as the new Executive Director and President of the Barnes Foundation. An innovative educator, accomplished art historian, administrator and author, Mr. Collins, a Philadelphia native, has more than 20 years of experience at some of America’s top arts institutions. He comes to the Barnes after serving for five years as director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, Florida (PAMM). At PAMM, Mr. Collins oversaw construction of the new Herzog & de Meuron-designed building located in downtown Miami, which opened to great acclaim in December 2013. During his tenure, the museum achieved an overwhelming increase in membership, annual giving, attendance, and major gifts, published important exhibition and collection catalogs, added significant works of art to the collection, and began in-house production of critical new digital education tools.

“It will be a privilege to lead the Barnes Foundation in its next chapter,” said Mr. Collins. “With its world-class collection, critically acclaimed new building, award-winning programs, growing membership and engaging array of courses in art and horticulture, the Barnes has become increasingly accessible to a more diverse audience than ever before. I look forward to working with the staff and Trustees to further its mission.”

Prior to joining PAMM, Mr. Collins served for five years as director of the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York. Mr. Collins’ tenure at the Neuberger Museum of Art was highlighted by significant growth in attendance and annual giving, and the creation of major endowments for new programming initiatives and capital improvements. He also oversaw the museum’s exhibitions, permanent collection displays, and a far-reaching platform of community-based educational programs for school children and adults in Westchester and Fairfield Counties.

Before heading the Neuberger Museum, Mr. Collins served as director of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, 2003–2005; chief curator at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, 2000-2003; associate curator at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, Washington, 1998-2000; and Newhall Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, 1994-1997.

Mr. Collins earned his MA in Art History from Northwestern University and his BA with honors in Art History and the History of Religion from Swarthmore College. He currently holds memberships in the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Art Museum Curators, and the College Art Association. For more information visit: www.barnesfoundation.org.

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