A Big Addition

Renowned expert leaves the Smithsonian for the Menil: Sheryl Kolasinski to oversee 40-acre plan

Renowned expert leaves the Smithsonian for the Menil: Sheryl Kolasinski to oversee 40-acre plan

News_Menil_Sheryl Kolasinski_deputy director_chief operating office
Sheryl Kolasinski was named the new deputy director and chief operating officer for The Menil Collection. Photo by © Marty Katz

After an extensive national search, The Menil Collection announced Wednesday that Sheryl Kolasinski has been selected as the museum's deputy director and chief operating officer. 

In this newly-created position, Kolasinski will work with director Josef Helfenstein to oversee the realization of the Menil's 40-acre master plan, which will be designed by the renowned David Chipperfield Architects.

“I am thrilled that Sheryl will be joining our leadership team,” Helfenstein said in a statement. “She is coming on board at an exciting time here at the Menil, with our ambitious plans for the future . . . Sheryl brings deep, meaningful experience and much expertise to the exciting tasks and challenges that lay ahead of us.”

"Sheryl brings deep, meaningful experience and much expertise to the exciting tasks and challenges that lay ahead of us,” Menil director Josef Helfenstein said.

In nearly two decades with the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. — where she served as a deputy director for operations in charge of 19 museums and nine research centers — Kolasinski implemented more than $1.5 billion in construction projects for popular destinations like the National Air and Space Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum.

With an undergraduate degree in art history from Brown University and a masters in architecture from Columbia University, Kolasinski started her career as a private sector architect before joining and eventually directing New York City's design and construction program for cultural institutions. During her tenure she would manage projects for major art hubs such as the Brooklyn Museum and P.S. 1.

“I am delighted to join such a highly respected and compelling institution as the Menil," she said in a statement Wednesday. "I look forward to contributing to its evolving future and to joining the vibrant Houston arts community.”

Kolasinski will start her new post in May.