The panel's focus will be on attracting museum specialists for "the largest collection of fine arts under one roof" in the state, Pinder said. The collection consists of some 30,000 works.
Working with UNM staff and faculty, the advisory council and guest curators, Pinder will lead the effort to fill vacancies and establish new initiatives -- including a three-year Ph.D. fellowship to train a growing number of students for curatorial programs nationwide.
Pinder described her "interim plan" as "an amazing opportunity to re-invent what a university museum can and should be on the campus of
Besides Becker's departure, another four members of the staff -- three curators and the collections manager -- recently retired. Collectively, they had worked at the museum for about 50 years.
"The museum has a very small staff, and it's now been cut in half," Pinder said.
Pinder calls the museum a hidden treasure. "Tens of thousands of New Mexicans walk by this gem of a museum on their way to performances at Popejoy and Rodey theatres, or during visits to the UNM campus with students and families," she said. "We want folks to realize that they can experience a vast range of great art in just a few minutes by dropping in to enjoy our exhibits."
The museum is tucked away -- some say hidden -- near Popejoy Hall in the
Pinder has discussed the planned reorganization with Provost Chaouki Abdallah, who promised to relieve her of some universitywide administrative duties to free up time for her new dual, dean-and-director role.
Pinder came to UNM two years ago from the
Becker's most notable achievement was an exhibition from the museum's permanent collection to commemorate its 50th anniversary, Pinder said, adding, "now it's time to focus on the next 50 years."
Becker has worked as a curator and arts administrator for two decades. Her last day at UNM is
Becker, Pinder said, "did a lot of great things" at the helm of the museum, and will be missed.
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