Friday, April 11, 2014

Lucky Lucky New Yorkers!

Sandra Jackson Dumont
photo by Jennifer Richard
Seattle is losing one great arts leader. Actually, we're losing one great woman: Sandra Jackson Dumont. She's moving to New York at the end of May to take a job with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you don't know her, you may know all that she's done as Education Director at Seattle Art Museum:
Remix, the regular evening festivities at SAM? Yep, that was her doing.
Hooking up teens with urban design professionals? Sandra Jackson Dumont, again.
Inviting non-visual arts folks to give museum tours called "My Favorite Things?" You guessed it, Sandra's great idea.

Sandra Jackson Dumont arrived in Seattle in 2006. As she told me, the dust hadn't really settled at the new Olympic Sculpture Park. Like that park, it feels like Sandra has always been here. She's made ties to people outside the museum, folks who have never really thought the Seattle Art Museum was something they'd be interested in.

Sandra was lured here by former SAM Director Mimi Gardner Gates, who liked to talk about the art museum as an institution that should be permeable, a place that would be a touchstone for this community.Under Jackson Dumont's stewardship, SAM has come a long way toward that goal.

When I asked her what she was proudest of at SAM, she reeled off a staggering list of achievements. Then Sandra Jackson Dumont told me a story. At the reopening of the expanded downtown museum, a little girl lost her stuffed rabbit. The wayward bunny was located, and returned to its owner, tucked inside a SAM backpack. The little girl's father called to thank the museum. Then he told them, before the bunny's safe return, his daughter had enchanted him with tales of all the amazing things she imagined her rabbit had done during its time at SAM.

That story says a lot about Sandra Jackson Dumont: she wants to amaze us, to tickle our imaginations, to astonish us, and to help us create memories and stories of our own. Thank you Sandra! Lucky Metropolitan Museum of Art! Sandra will be making your institution and your city a richer, more amazing place.

2 comments:

  1. I so agree with you Marci: Sandra has make a forever mark on SAM and the city. She 'got it' with all communities and made SAM a permeable membrane. We will miss her and hope all she started will be completed by others, and then some! (Bon Vogage Sandra...and do you have a guest room for all of us in NYC!)

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