DC Artswatch

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The National Museum of African Art. Courtesy Smithsonian.

Rynd Retires from Building Museum

Chase Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum since 2003, retired in June and was named executive director emeritus. Serving as interim executive director through early 2021 will be Brent D. Glass, director of the National Museum of American History from 2002 to 2011. A consultant to cultural organizations since leaving the Smithsonian, Glass, a Georgetown resident, takes over during the museum’s closure — which began pre-COVID-19 for renovations to the landmark Patent Office Building in which it is housed — and in the midst of its 40th anniversary campaign.

Racism Charges at African Art Museum

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III is reviewing a letter sent by former National Museum of African Art employees and board members accusing the museum of having “recruited, retained and promoted a predominantly White staff.” In a New York Times interview last month, Bunch said he was aware of the issue, which was partly the reason for choosing Deborah L. Mack, the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s associate director for strategic partnerships, as the art museum’s interim director. The former director, Gus Casely-Hayford, returned to the U.K. to head up the V&A East museum project in London.

Ballet Executive Director Leaves

Michael Pastreich, executive director of the Washington Ballet since May of 2019, left the company at the end of July to pursue a business opportunity. Pastreich, former CEO of the Florida Orchestra, was the third executive director since 2016. More challenges: Following the ballet’s live-streamed gala on June 18, Artistic Director Julie Kent and two others tested positive for COVID-19, and all in-person performances scheduled through the end of the year — including the company’s “Nutcracker” production set in Georgetown — have been postponed or canceled.

New WCO Executive Director

Tehvon Fowler-Chapman joined Washington Concert Opera this month as executive director. His predecessor, Caryn Reeves, was named development director at the Glimmerglass Festival. A member of the inaugural cohort of Sphinx L.E.A.D. (Leaders in Excellence, Arts, and Diversity), Fowler-Chapman has worked at Vocal Arts DC, National Sawdust and Wolf Trap Opera, where he was company manager. He has a bachelor of music degree in instrumental music education from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in arts administration from Indiana University.

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