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Crystal Bridges Announces the Departure of Museum President Don Bacigalupi

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces that Don Bacigalupi, museum president and board member, will conclude his role as president on January 14, 2015, while retaining his role as a member of the board.

Bacigalupi has accepted an appointment as the Founding President for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, to be built in Chicago. The museum’s conceptual design by MAD Architects was recently released, with a proposed opening date in 2018.

Bacigalupi joined Crystal Bridges as executive director in 2009, and was instrumental in the planning, collection development, and opening of the museum, which has hosted more than 1.5 million visitors in its first three years of operation.

“Don’s achievements at Crystal Bridges have been numerous, and many of our successes are attributable to his guidance leading up to the opening of the museum and continuing into our highly successful next three years,” said Crystal Bridges Founder and Board Chair Alice Walton. “He came on board when the museum was in its early stages, guiding our direction through the building phase and helping to shape the development and exhibition of our art collection. His expertise in overseeing the launch of new institutions makes him an ideal leader for the Lucas Museum, and we’ll be applauding his accomplishments. We are pleased that he will retain his connection to Crystal Bridges as a member of our board.”

“Leading Crystal Bridges through its construction, opening and early years has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience and honor,” said Bacigalupi. “I am so proud to have worked with such an incredibly passionate and capable team–of staff, board, and volunteers–to achieve such extraordinary successes. I often say that we’ve made a good start at Crystal Bridges, and I look forward to the great momentum continuing. I’ll be a lifelong friend and fan.”

Bacigalupi became museum president in February, 2013, when Crystal Bridges announced a leadership realignment to support its strategic plans. The board of directors named Bacigalupi as museum president and a board member, and Rod Bigelow as executive director. Bigelow assumed oversight for day-to-day operations of the museum at that time. The realignment focused Bacigalupi’s attention on the museum’s key exhibition initiatives, namely launching the State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibition, which opened on September 13 and has already received more than 88,000 visitors.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Don during our tenure together at Crystal Bridges, and he has played a vital role in helping the museum achieve its goal of sharing great works of art with wide-ranging audiences, “ said Bigelow. “The current State of the Art exhibition is just one example of his commitment to raising the profile of American art, and he has helped pave the way for us to carry forth in our mission.”