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Houston Tapped to Lead Columbus State’s Bo Bartlett Center

David Houston, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Director of Curatorial, will leave his post Jan. 31 to become the executive director of the newly created Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University, Columbus, Ga.

Houston began his tenure at Crystal Bridges in 2011, leading a curatorial team charged with curating installations and exhibitions. He contributed to the museum’s successful opening, including the installation and premiere of the permanent collection, Celebrating the American Spirit. In its first year of operation, the museum launched eleven distinct exhibitions ranging in size and scope and held in various galleries. Houston served as lead curator for several, including Declaration: Birth of America; Edward S. Curtis and the Oklahoma Indian Tribes; Moshe Safdie: The Path to Crystal Bridges; and See the Light: The Luminist Tradition in American Art.

Houston has nearly 30 years of experience as a curator, professor and public art administrator. He came to Crystal Bridges from the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, where he served as chief curator from 2001-2010, and co-director in 2011.

“David came to us as a highly regarded professional with a long and distinguished career in the museum field,” said Crystal Bridges’ Executive Director Don Bacigalupi. “As an early member of our team, he brought invaluable expertise as we opened the museum, launched an exhibitions program and continued making acquisitions. He has had a significant role in our planning, which will advance our institutional vision into the future. His contributions and service will be part of our founding history and we appreciate all that he has contributed.”

A national search will begin immediately for a new chief curator/director of curatorial, who will report to the museum’s executive director and work collaboratively with the other Art & Education branch directors: Niki Stewart, director of education and exhibitions; Catherine Petersen, director of the library; and Elizabeth Weinman, registrar.

The Bo Bartlett Center was established in 2012 when artist Bo Bartlett donated his archives—paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and journals—to Columbus State University. The Center will feature an 18,425-square-foot interactive gallery space. The red brick, former textile warehouse turned gallery space, designed by AIA award-winning architect, Tom Kundig, sits on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Bartlett’s hometown, Columbus, Ga. As a cornerstone of the College of the Arts’ Corn Center for Visual Arts, The Bo Bartlett Center will be a pivotal element in the continued emergence of a national and international presence originally established by the College’s Schwob School of Music and its Legacy Hall. Complementing exhibitions in the CSU Department of Art’s acclaimed Norman Shannon and Emmy Lou P. Illges Gallery, The Bo Bartlett Center will serve as an experiential learning center and cultural hub for the visual arts while affording visitors a broad range of arts experiences offered within the College’s arts district.

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