Press Releases

Akron Art Museum Board Appoints New Leader

Mark Masuoka named Executive Director and CEO

For Release: May 2013

The Board of Trustees of the Akron Art Museum has named Mark Masuoka the institution’s new Executive Director and CEO. Masuoka was most recently the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, an international artist-in-residence program in Omaha, Nebraska, and has also led the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and the Nevada Institute of Contemporary Art in Las Vegas.
With a strong curatorial background and over two decades of art management and community development experience, Masuoka will provide adept leadership at the 91-year old museum. “A primary focus will be to heighten the museum’s community engagement, increase accessibility and develop a new model for the next generation of art museums”, explained Board President Dianne Newman “The Board sees Mark’s appointment as a visionary way forward with compelling programs that make art relevant to all audiences by connecting the community to artists and the creative process.”
“We will be staying true to Akron Art Museum’s mission—with emphasis on continuing to build the museum’s collection, a steadfast dedication to arts education, artists and a commitment to high quality exhibitions. The museum’s history of forward thinking and risk taking has laid a strong foundation for ‘out of the box’ thinking and cultural relevancy in the community,” said Masuoka. “I am honored to be selected by the museum Board and the search committee to be the new executive director of this highly respected institution.”
Masuoka’s appointment follows a rigorous national search by a museum committee chaired by immediate past Board President Fred Bidwell and composed of current board members and several other past presidents. The museum board engaged Management Consultants for the Arts, one of the nation’s leading cultural arts search firms, to assist in the search.
“The committee met with and interviewed extremely qualified candidates from distinguished institutions,” Bidwell stated. “However, Mark’s diverse experience and success as a leader, fundraiser, artist, gallery owner and planner brings new perspective to the museum’s management. His visionary tenure at the Bemis Center marked by inspiring programming and dynamic growth promises many exciting possibilities for Akron.”
The museum, under the leadership of Director Emeritus Mitchell Kahan, has earned a notable national and international reputation for the quality of its collection, exhibitions and dynamic building. “Mark will springboard the museum to the next level of engagement and programming,” Bidwell continued.
Masuoka will assume the directorship of the museum on July 15, 2013.
About Mark Masuoka
Mark Masuoka is an experienced art professional and a transformative leader. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Visual Arts from the University of Hawaii and Master of Fine Arts Degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art.  His previous professional positions include President of the Mark Masuoka Gallery in Las Vegas; Director and Chief Curator of the Nevada Institute for Contemporary Art; Executive Director and Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver; Partner and Gallery Director of the Carson-Masuoka Gallery in Denver; Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha. He has been an advisor and panelist for the Alliance of Artists Communities; Joyce Foundation; Joan Mitchell Foundation; USA Artists; National Endowment for the Arts and served on the board of directors for the Omaha Chamber of Commerce; Alliance of Artists Communities; Las Vegas and Omaha Public Art Commission and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.
About the Akron Art Museum
The Akron Art Museum, dedicated to enriching lives through modern art, showcases regional, national and international art created since 1850. The museum’s collection is presented in a spectacular facility designed by Viennese architectural firm Coop Himmelb(l)au and includes over 5,000 works of art, with a strong focus on contemporary painting and sculpture and photography. Nearly a dozen exhibitions each year present prominent artists in various media including painting, sculpture, photography, video, design and glass.
In addition to its ever-changing collection and exhibitions, the museum offers many opportunities to discover new perspectives through programs that include films and video, lectures, workshops, tours and concerts.

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