Art World Shuffles

Dallas Museum of Art director unexpectedly leaves for new global gig

Dallas Museum of Art director unexpectedly leaves for new global gig

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Maxwell L. Anderson is stepping down as director of the DMA. Photo by Hadley Fruits

Maxwell L. Anderson is leaving the Dallas Museum of Art for the nonprofit world. The now-former director will join the New Cities Foundation, a nonprofit established in 2010 whose mission is to shape a better urban future through events, research, and innovation projects.

According to a release from the DMA, Anderson will serve as director of grant programs, where "he will be devising strategies to advance the foundation's focus on innovation and digital media."

New Cities Foundation describes Anderson's new role as helping to "develop ways of supporting NCF'S focus on urban innovation, with a particular emphasis on how digital platforms can improve the lives of city dwellers internationally." He also will "assist the foundation's affiliate, GCDN (Global Cultural Districts Network), along with other endeavors to improve the quality of urban life through strategic investments, advocacy, and foundation alliances."

Anderson, who has put his house on the market, joined the DMA as director in 2011. During his tenure, he reinstituted free admission to the museum's general collection, established a loyalty program, launched the conservation studio, and strengthened partnerships with North Texas universities.

The release states that Walter Elcock, president of the museum’s board of trustees, will serve as interim director; board vice president Catherine Rose will serve as interim president. Anderson will "continue to provide consulting services to the museum during the transition."

He has been scrutinized for his priorities, adding to the turmoil of near-constant turnover in senior positions at the museum over the past few years.

In 2014, Anderson co-hosted with Mayor Mike Rawlings the 2014 New Cities Summit in Dallas, a program of his new employer's, and has participated in its other summits in Paris, Sao Paolo, and Jakarta.

"After nearly four years at the Dallas Museum of Art, I have decided to accept a compelling new opportunity at the New Cities Foundation, among the most innovative urban-focused enterprises in the world," said Anderson in the release. "It has been a great privilege to work alongside the board and staff of the DMA, and to play a role in helping shape the Dallas Arts District Foundation as its chairman since 2013.

"My growing interest in how cultural districts can shape cities led me to this new, exciting opportunity in New York City."