Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has added new employees, and bids farewell to a long-time staff member this month. Facilities Director David Burghart has retired after spending three years overseeing the museum’s construction process. Randy Graham was chosen as the museum’s group tours manager; Anne Jackson has joined the development division as development coordinator; Alison Nation has joined the communications division as project coordinator; and Nathan Pollet joins as manager of special events.
Randy Graham, Bella Vista, is Crystal Bridges’ group tours manager. Graham’s charge is to organize, staff, facilitate and promote group tours to Crystal Bridges. Since its opening, the museum has hosted more than 350 groups and expects at least another 111 groups before the end of the calendar year. Graham has a variety of experience that contribute to his success as a group tour manager, including leading group tours in Branson, MO; serving as director of parks and recreation in Lamar, MO; and working as a small business owner and student minister. He is a graduate of East Texas Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Anne Jackson comes to Crystal Bridges from the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas, Inc., where she served as development director since 2008. Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, advertising, and public relations from the University of Arkansas. At Crystal Bridges, she will coordinate a wide range of integrated development projects related to the identification, research, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of sponsors and donors for the museum.
Alison Nation has recently transitioned into the role of project coordinator for the museum’s communications division. In this role she is the first point of contact for the initiation of all communications projects including those of a creative, marketing, or public relations nature. Nation has been with Crystal Bridges since December, 2008, serving as administrative assistant for education and then as senior administrative assistant for the Art and Education department. Previously, Nation was the Creative Director at YouCAN!’s Community Imagination Studio in Fayetteville. She holds a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in Studio Arts with a minor in art history from the University of Oklahoma, and a master of fine arts degree in ceramics and sculpture from the University of Arkansas.
Nathan Pollet is the manager of special events at Crystal Bridges, overseeing both internal and external events, as well as rentals of museum facilities. Pollet spent 15 years with the Disney Company, including five years as the house manager for Michael Eisner, the former CEO, and three years as an Imagineer in the company’s theme park design branch. Pollet holds a bachelor of communications degree with emphasis in protocol from Palm Beach Atlantic University, Palm Beach, Florida; and a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona, California.
In 2008, David Burghart, who had earlier retired from a long career managing the construction of Walmart stores across the country, agreed to come out of retirement to lend his considerable expertise to Crystal Bridges during the museum’s construction phase. Burghart served as the museum’s liaison to the project’s general contractor and project management team. For three years he kept his finger on the pulse of the museum’s very large, very complex construction project, bringing his wealth of experience to bear to help keep the museum on track and on budget. He retired from Crystal Bridges in early October.
"Whether taking care of the mundane or helping chart the course of an emerging institution, David always brought his A game," said Deputy Director of Museum Relations Sandy Edwards. "He always had a practical approach to seeking solutions, a strong work ethic, and a sense of humor, and he demanded a high level of quality in every aspect of the job. David has a reputation for getting it done, and done well. And Crystal Bridges stands as a testament to that reputation."
"David was the perfect ‘wing man’ at my side through all the challenges and excitement of building Crystal Bridges," said Executive Director Don Bacigalupi. "His contribution will be well remembered by all of us."
Crystal Bridges, located in Bentonville, AR, opened on Nov. 11, 2011. The museum has recently welcomed its 500,000th visitor. Additional information about Crystal Bridges is available online at crystalbridges.org.
About Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of landscape. The museum explores the unfolding story of America by actively collecting, exhibiting, interpreting, and preserving outstanding works that illuminate our heritage and artistic possibilities.
Opened in 2011, Crystal Bridges was founded by philanthropist Alice Walton, who chairs the Museum’s board of directors. The building was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie and is situated on 120 wooded acres in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Crystal Bridges’ growing collection spans five centuries of American masterworks from the Colonial era to the current day. The permanent collection is enhanced by an array of temporary exhibitions.
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