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Local: Munson-Williams Names Stephen Harrision Director of Museum of Art

UTICA, NY (Nov. 16, 2022) – Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute announces the appointment of Stephen Harrison as Director of the Museum of Art and Chief Curator. Harrison came to Munson-Williams in November 2020 as the Deputy Director of the Museum.

As Director of the Museum, he will plan future exhibitions, enhance collection and interpretation initiatives, and develop stronger community relationships and collaborations. He will continue to lead the education, curatorial, and registrar departments and support Munson-Williams President and CEO Anna D’Ambrosio with major initiatives, such as an institute-wide master plan, rebranding and Munson-Williams’ strategic five-year plan. 

“Stephen has become an invaluable member of the leadership team at Munson-Williams by contributing his scholarship and a renewed vision for the Museum,’‘ Munson-Williams President and CEO Anna D’Ambrosio said. “He has already made his mark with an exceptionally successful summer exhibition and the reimagining of our galleries. I’m delighted to promote him to the director role.”

During his tenure at Munson-Williams, Harrison has spearheaded major acquisition and deaccession efforts and established a new acquisition fund honoring the memory of Helen Munson Williams. He curated the 2022 Norman Rockwell exhibition, the most-attended summer exhibition in Munson-Williams’ history. 

“I’m honored to be taking on this new role with such talented people at the Museum of Art when Munson-Williams is brimming with so much promise and potential,” Harrison said. “I’ve received such a warm welcome in Utica, and I’m proud to be sharing one of the best collections of American art in the world with our community and beyond.”   

Harrison came to Munson-Williams with more than 25 years of experience, including as the Curator of Decorative Art and Design at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where he oversaw a premier collection of American and European design. He has also held curatorial positions at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. 

An expert in 19th and early 20th Century decorative art, he is the author of numerous scholarly publications including the award-winning Artistic Luxury: Fabergé, Tiffany, Lalique, and more recently, The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s. A former regular contributor to Better Homes & Gardens, Harrison lectures widely on the subject of decorative arts and historic interiors around the world.

A native of Shreveport, La., Harrison holds an M.S. in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in American material culture from the Winterthur Museum Program at the University of Delaware, and a B.A. from the University of Virginia, where he was a Jefferson Scholar. 

About Munson-Williams

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute creates transformational arts experiences that cultivate curiosity and creativity, enlighten, educate, and inspire. The Institute aims to promote interest and participation in the arts and stimulate artistic self-expression and personal creativity. Munson-Williams continues to assume a leadership and advocacy role for the arts in Utica, NY. With 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection, concerts, community classes, and the PrattMWP College of Art and Design, Munson-Williams is the cultural heart of Central New York.

Munson-Williams is located at 310 Genesee Street, Utica, NY. 13502, 315-797-0000, mwpai.org

Utica Phoenix Staff
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