Dr. Malcolm Warner Celebrates One Year as Executive Director of Laguna Art Museum


.

Museum Thrives Under New Leadership

Executive Director Dr. Malcolm Warner

It has been one year since former Kimbell Art Museum Deputy Director Dr. Malcolm Warner took the helm as executive director at Laguna Art Museum on January 3, 2012. Much has improved for the California art-focused museum in a short amount of time, including an increase in donations and gifts to the museum’s collection, the hiring of new staff, improvements to the building, and an increase in programming.
.
Since Warner took up his position, the museum has received numerous donations and grants. Recently it received a $100,000 pledge from supporter Yvonne J. Boseker, establishing the Edward H. and Yvonne J. Boseker Fund for Early California Art. The Fund, named for her and her late husband, will be used for the conservation and framing of works in the museum’s permanent collection as well as exhibitions and educational programs related to the field of early California art. Since the announcement of this new fund, the museum has received monetary gifts from additional supporters to be used for conservation. In addition to the Boseker gift, the museum received grants and support from Bank of America, Bonhams and Butterfields, First Foundation Bank, ITT Corporation, Jean Gaulin Foundation, Laguna Beach Community Foundation, Marisla Foundation, McBeth Foundation, Pacific Life Foundation, ROHL LLC, US Trust, Wells Fargo Foundation, and William Gillespie Foundation. Individual support for the museum’s exhibitions has also increased.
.
In the past year the museum has received a number of new gifts to its permanent collection of California art. Recent gifts and acquisitions include Pound Box – A Tableau (1981) by George Herms, a gift from the estate of Dr. John Menkes. Artist Marcia Hafif donated her photographic series Colony Kitchen (1970) and three of her films (1970-72). La Vie Secrète – After Magritte by Bruce Yonemoto was gifted by the Kimberly Light Collection, and an untitled William Wendt painting from 1933 was a gift from Robert and Shirley Foster from the estate of Janet W. Wood. These are the most notable among numerous 2012 acquisitions.
.
One of Warner’s first tasks as Executive Director was to fill gaps on the museum’s staff. In spring 2012, he brought on former Executive Director of the Oceanside Museum of Art, Ed Fosmire, as Laguna Art Museum’s new Deputy Director—to lead the museum’s development efforts—and Marinta Skupin, formerly with the San Diego History Center, as Curator of Education.
.
“The appointment of these two highly accomplished professionals has brought Laguna Art Museum’s staff back to full strength in the vital areas of development and education,” said Warner.
.
Over the year, Warner has instigated numerous projects to improve the museum building, enlisting the help of various friends and supporters. Thanks to the generosity of Jacques Garnier, Vista Paints, and Dunn Edwards Paints, the exterior of the building is freshly painted. Through Sara and Paul Heeschen, TL Fabrications has provided new LAGUNA ART MUSEUM signs—for the Cliff Drive and Coast Highway sides of the building—that conform to the museum’s standard logo. And thanks to Lou Rohl, ROHL LLC, and other donors, the museum is now equipped with a new first-class kitchen.
.
“The next improvement will be an upgrade for the John C. Kennady Memorial Garden, which is the strip of landscaping around two sides of the building,” said Warner. “This is a project for which the museum is currently seeking funding. On a larger scale, it is also working toward a much-needed overhaul of the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system.”
.
In addition, Warner initiated changes in the museum store by bringing on volunteer store manager Michele Monda, forming a staff committee, and establishing a new philosophy for the store—to provide affordable, portable, and local giftware.  Now the store features original prints and photographs; scarves, jewelry, and bags; glassware and ceramic pots, bowls, and tiles, all created by Laguna Beach artists. The store’s grand re-opening was in November, and the holiday season revenue increased 68% over last year.
.
Warner has endeavored to make the museum more accessible by instituting new hours, reducing admission prices, and introducing free memberships for college students. As a result, museum attendance and memberships have so far increased by 10%.
.
With its new hours, the museum is open late every Thursday until 9:00 p.m.
.
“The idea was to give people an alternative time to visit, outside of the working day and the weekend,” said Warner. “The change opened up opportunities for extra programming, and over the past year we have built up our regular Thursday evening offerings almost to capacity.”
.
Thursday night programming at Laguna Art Museum includes the artist discussion series Conversation With…, which takes place the first Thursday of every month during the Laguna Beach Art Walk, in addition to the occasional dance performance staged by Laguna Dance Festival; the chamber music concert series Live! at the Museum, which is produced in conjunction with Laguna Beach Live! on the second Thursday of each month; film nights with the Laguna Beach Film Society on third Thursdays; and various kinds of presentations, including talks and lectures on aspects of the museum’s collection and current exhibitions, and California art and culture generally, on fourth and fifth Thursdays.

Speak Your Mind

*