Dr. Malcolm Warner, executive director since 2012, will retire on December 31, 2020. With Warner’s leadership, the museum has doubled its endowment, doubled its annual budget from approximately $1.5 million to $3 million, and increased the status and visibility of the museum beyond its rich heritage in historical plein-air painting into a premier museum of California art, inclusive of pre-eminent contemporary works – developing critically acclaimed exhibitions and expanding its excellent art education programs into classrooms in Laguna Beach and beyond, including the most widely-attended initiative in the history of the museum, Art & Nature. The museum’s permanent collection, unique in its focus on California art, has grown by 250 works of art. Warner led the museum’s 2018-2019 Centennial year to great success, leading the organization through celebrations and achievements that will have impact for decades to come.
Before joining Laguna Art Museum, Dr. Warner was Deputy Director at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas; Senior Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut; and Curator of European Art at the San Diego Museum of Art. He received his PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, and his doctoral dissertation was on the British Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais. The leading authority on Millais, he has been compiling a catalogue raisonné of the artist’s works, a long-term project he intends to complete in retirement.
With Warner’s leadership, Laguna Art Museum has doubled its endowment, doubled its annual budget—from approximately $1.5 million to $3 million—expanded its staff, especially in the areas of education and development, and elevated its status and visibility, presenting critically acclaimed exhibitions and outstanding art education programs for children and adults.
Thanks to generous donations by collectors, foundations, and artists, the museum’s permanent collection has grown by over 250 works of art during Warner’s tenure. He has curated a number of exhibitions during this time and contributed forewords to numerous exhibition catalogues published by the museum.
In 2013 Warner launched the most widely-attended initiative in the history of the museum, Art & Nature, an annual program centered on a large-scale, commissioned work of art and public programs on the theme of art’s engagement with the natural world.