MoCC Interim Director Jeffrey Thomas Resigns
Museum of Contemporary Craft Interim Director Jeffrey Thomas has announced that he has resigned his position at the Museum. As reported this week by Barry Johnson on Oregon Arts Watch, after serving as interim director over the course of the Museum’s 75th anniversary year, Thomas saw this as the right opportunity for PNCA to explore options for long-term leadership at the Museum. The news comes as MoCC culminates an extraordinary anniversary year with the capstone exhibition Generations: Betty Feves, opening March 15. MoCC has attracted record support for the exhibition with over $200,000 raised including a $105,000 grant from the Whiteman Foundation of Arizona and the Museum’s first prestigious and highly competitive Institute of Museum and Library Services grant.
Jeffrey Thomas’s tenure has been part of a high profile 75th anniversary year for the Museum of Contemporary Craft, beginning with the opening of the fiber retrospective Laurie Herrick: Weaving Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow in March 2011. The year has continued with dynamic exhibitions which brought new audiences to the Museum and traveled to other institutions, taking the Museum’s good work out into the world. MoCC had an additional distinction as the first Oregon museum awarded a Western States Arts Federation touring grant for $50,000, which was matched by the Ford Family Foundation.
Later in the year, MoCC opened one of its most popular shows ever, Nikki McClure: Cutting Her Own Path, 1996-2011 — the first Museum retrospective (sponsored by Bank of America) for the internationally renown Northwest artist. The exhibition was followed by a focus on design handcrafted for social good. Emily Pilloton, recognized as one of the leading young voices for design for social change, broadened the conversation with Studio H: Design. Build. Transform., an exhibition curated by Namita Wiggers and sponsored by Boeing.
The tag line for the Studio H exhibition, Design. Build. Transform., reflects what this pivotal year represented for the Museum: bringing design into the Museum, designing its future in conjunction with PNCA, building new exhibitions, new community, and building financial support. To date, new gifts and pledges in this fiscal year, including a $300,000 multi-year challenge grant and a $50,000 challenge grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, total nearly $700,000 for support of exhibitions in 2012 and beyond. In addition, the Museum saw a doubling of its membership and its attendance and a 50% increase in its robust community of volunteers.
Moving forward, PNCA President Tom Manley plans to appoint an interim director for the Museum while working with the MoCC Board, under the direction of John Bishop, on a permanent appointment. The partnership between the two institutions continues to strenghten and expand the Museum’s role as a vibrant center for the exploration and investigation of craft and design.