The College is pleased to announce the appointment of Anna Conlan as Neil C. Trager Director of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, effective Feb. 1,. Conlan succeeds Wayne Lempka, who has served as interim director since 2019, and Sara Pasti, who had served as director from 2009-2019.
As Director of The Dorsky Museum, Conlan will oversee all collection, exhibition, education and related artistic programs and activities, in collaboration with the Museum’s staff, Advisory Board, and many campus and regional partners and stakeholders. She will also serve as administrative head of finances, fundraising, audience development, communications and staff development.
“As the Museum enters its 20th anniversary year, it’s truly an honor to lead the team who will shape the next phase of The Dorsky,” Conlan said. “I’m excited to work with our campus and community partners to continue to grow The Dorsky as a relevant regional art museum that effectively connects with the diverse audiences we serve.”
Conlan assumes this new role after serving as The Dorsky’s curator and exhibitions manager since 2019. She holds a master’s in museum anthropology from Columbia University and a master’s in feminism and the visual arts from the University of Leeds, and brings nearly two decades of art museum experience to the position.
“Anna Conlan has had an immediate and meaningful impact on Museum programming, exhibitions, advocacy and community engagement since joining our campus community in 2019,” said President Donald P. Christian. “Her experience, creativity and enthusiasm equip her well to lead The Dorsky Museum as it continues to grow and thrive as one of the premier art museums in the SUNY system. I congratulate Anna and thank members of the Museum Advisory Board and colleagues at The Dorsky and in the School of Fine & Performing Arts for sharing their time, insight and connection to the broader arts community throughout the search and appointment process.”
In just a short time at The Dorsky Museum, Conlan has had an immediate impact on exhibitions, events and efforts to connect with new audiences, including current New Paltz students. She curated the exhibitions Totally Dedicated: Leonard Contino, 1940-2016; Collecting Local: Twelve Years of the Hudson Valley Artists Annual Purchase Award; and Hudson Valley Artists: New Folk; and co-curated the forthcoming spring 2021 exhibition Lewis Hine, Child Labor Investigator.
She was also central to The Dorsky Museum’s efforts to adapt to challenging circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic, including as the curator of Stay Home, Make Art, a virtual exhibition that elicited hundreds of submissions from established and up-and-coming artists throughout the Hudson Valley region.
“I want to offer my congratulations to Anna Conlan on her appointment and say how excited we are about having her as our Director,” said Ward Mintz, Chair of The Dorsky Museum Advisory Board. “All of the Advisory Board members who have worked with her on fundraising projects have been impressed and inspired by her. As the Museum begins the celebration of its 20th anniversary, we look forward to helping Anna make the Dorsky Museum an even more important cultural asset in the Hudson Valley.”
Prior to coming to New Paltz in 2019, Conlan served as a curatorial consultant for the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio; as assistant curator at The James Gallery at CUNY Graduate Center in New York; as exhibitions coordinator at the Museum for African Art in New York; and as assistant exhibition organizer at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. She also taught as a graduate fellow in the Hunter College Art Department from 2011-2014.
“Anna’s vision, insight and thoughtfulness make her an ideal fit for the role of Museum Director,” said Jeni Mokren, dean of the School of Fine & Performing Arts. “She is open to a diversity of work and perspectives and brings that openness with her to all she does. Her ability to create connections with artists, students, faculty, visitors, colleagues and peers at other museums will serve our community well as we continue advancing The Dorsky’s standing as a leading cultural hub in the Hudson Valley.”
About The Dorsky Museum
Through its collections, exhibitions and public programs, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art supports and enriches the academic programs at the College and serves as a center for Hudson Valley arts and culture. With more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space distributed over six galleries, The Dorsky Museum is one of the largest museums in the SUNY system. Since its official dedication in 2001, The Dorsky has presented more than 100 exhibitions, including commissions, collection-based projects, and in-depth studies of contemporary artists including Robert Morris, Alice Neel, Judy Pfaff, Carolee Schneemann and Ushio Shinohara.
Funding for The Dorsky’s exhibitions and programs is provided by the Friends of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art and SUNY New Paltz.
Museum Hours: Wednesday–Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, holidays and intersessions. For more information about The Dorsky Museum and its programs, visit newpaltz.edu/museum or call (845) 257-3844.