DELAWARE ART MUSEUM WELCOMES SAM SWEET AS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
The Delaware Art Museum’s Board of Trustees announced today the appointment of Sam Sweet to Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Museum, effective July 1, 2016. Sweet will relocate to Wilmington from Washington, D.C., where he led several prominent arts organizations over the past two decades.
“We are extremely energized about the future of the Delaware Art Museum,” said Roberts W. Brokaw III, Board President and Chair of the Search Committee. “The appointment of a bold cultural leader like Sam Sweet to guide our Museum into the future starts a new and exciting chapter in our history. During his 20-year career, Sam has demonstrated a keen ability not only to drive economic growth and community development, but also to improve education and quality of life in the communities he and his organizations have served.”
The Museum worked with the executive nonprofit search firm Kittleman & Associates to conduct an exhaustive national search. Sweet was unanimously approved as the Board of Trustees’ first choice candidate from a large number of qualified applicants. “We view Sweet to be the perfect choice for the Delaware Art Museum,” Brokaw said. “He fully grasps our organization’s potential and is wholly aligned with the Board’s vision for moving the Museum forward.”
Sweet joins the Museum during a vital time. The Museum experienced 14 percent growth in attendance and a 30 percent increase in the number of Museum donors in 2015 compared to 2014. This growth is attributed to the Museum’s strategic focus on growing community-based programs, events, and partnerships with local schools and a string of popular exhibitions, including Dream Streets: Art in Wilmington 1970 – 1990, which documented and celebrated Wilmington’s artistic heritage, and the internationally-celebrated exhibition, Poetry in Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelite Art of Marie Spartali Stillman.
“I am inspired by the Museum’s collections and programs, but most of all, by the passion and support of its staff, volunteers, donors, and Members,” said Sweet. “Guided by the founders’ vision to connect people to and through art, I believe we can continue to grow the Museum and bolster its place as a cultural beacon and civic anchor. I am humbled to serve this community and build on the Delaware Art Museum’s artistic vitality, spark its dynamic growth, and ensure its financial stability for a successful and sustainable future for generations to come.”
Sweet has a track record of leading arts organizations through times of transformative change. As Executive Director at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C., he raised funds to eliminate the organization’s building debt while launching a number of critically-acclaimed music and theatre programs. During his tenure as the Managing Director of the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, Sweet helped the theatre transition from an operation in a renovated garage with a $1.8 million budget to a $16 million complex with a $6 million budget. He also contributed to the success of The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., helping it to become one of the largest nonprofit theaters in the country. From 2008 – 2009 he served as Chief Operating Officer for the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art and Design, where he rebuilt the organization’s management capacity and structure.
Sweet currently teaches in George Mason University’s Masters in Arts Management program and owns a consulting practice that aids nonprofits in building organizational capacity. He is civically active, having served on the boards of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Business Improvement District, Arlington Economic Development Commission, Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, and Leadership Greater Washington, and was a founding board member of the Cultural Development Corporation. Sweet holds a master’s degree in business administration from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and his bachelor of arts degree in art history from Columbia University.
About the Delaware Art Museum
Founded in 1912, the Delaware Art Museum is best known for its large collection of British Pre-Raphaelite art, works by Wilmington-native Howard Pyle and fellow American illustrators, and urban landscapes by John Sloan and his circle. Visitors can also enjoy the outdoor Copeland Sculpture Garden and a number of special exhibitions throughout the year.
The Delaware Art Museum is located at 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806. Open Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., and Friday – Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday and Tuesday: Closed. Admission fees are charged as follows: Adults (19-59) $12, Seniors (60+) $10, Students (with valid ID) $6, Youth (7-18) $6, and Children (6 and under) free. Admission fees are waived Thursdays 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Sundays 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. thanks to support from generous individuals. For more information, call 302-571-9590 or 866-232-3714 (toll free), or visit the website at delart.org.
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