Executive Search for Not-for-Profit Cultural Institutions

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Columbia Museum of Art

The Challenge

After 12 transformative years at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, South Carolina, our previous placement as Executive Director was enticed by an offer of a career change that was highly interesting to her and we were engaged once again to find her successor. The Museum had grown into the award-winning, vibrant cultural jewel of the newly revived downtown in Columbia and the Search Committee was ready for a director with the professional, programming and community relations skills to expand the accessibility of the Museum for the region’s changing and widening populations.
The Museum’s reputation and the exacting standards of this Search Committee set a high bar for us to meet.

The Solution

We broadcast the position widely to museum directors and posted extensively on job boards in the field. In the end, recommendations from our professional contacts and our own recruitment of potential candidates produced five highly qualified finalists. The Search Committee chose three to interview in person and they were delighted to choose Della Watkins. Della arrived at CMA from her position as Director of the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia. Previously, Della held successively more responsible positions in museum education over 16 years at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Della jumped in full-throttle to complete a major renovation and reopening of the Museum and to develop new imaginative programming, signaling the opening of the doors wide to the community and the region.