St. Petersburg has quite the arts scene and two important cultural influences, the Museum of Fine Arts and Florida CraftArt, each have new directors that will lead the respective destinations into the new year.
Kristen Shepherd joins the Museum of Fine Arts
A national search by the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg has named Kristen Shepherd as the new Director and she will join the Museum on December 15. Shepherd brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from her roll as Associate Vice President, Audience Strategy & Services for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Director of Membership and Annual Fund, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
Shepherd is familiar with the area, as she lived in Clearwater during her high school years, and still has family in the area. “This was the first art museum I ever visited, and it has remained a special touchstone for me,” said Kristen Shepherd. “I’ve always appreciated the diversity of the MFA collection, with its outstanding examples from so many periods of art history. It’s a beautiful, welcoming collection.”
Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg
Kristen Shepherd succeeds former MFA Director, Dr. Kent Lydecker, who retired in March. Shepherd is the sixth director in MFA history and its first female director. “We are thrilled that our search across the country has brought a nationally recognized leader to St. Petersburg, who also has roots in our region,” said MFA Board Chair Mark T. Mahaffey. “We look forward to the leadership Kristen will bring to the museum and our entire community.”
Katie Deits comes to Florida CraftArt
The statewide nonprofit organization, Florida CraftArt, that represents Florida’s fine craft artists, has named Katie Deits as its new Executive Director. Katie Deits comes to St. Petersburg from Florida’s east coast, where she was executive director of the Lighthouse ArtCenter Museum, Gallery and School of Art in Tequesta for more than six years. Deits has served on the State’s Division of Cultural Affairs grants panel and on Palm Beach County’s public art committee. Deits is a ceramics aficionado and has been a longtime fan of the city of St. Petersburg and Florida CraftArt.
Florida CraftArt, formerly known as Florida Crafstman
“Of particular importance is her proven ability to grow membership and donations, and her ability to expand awareness of Florida CraftArt,” said Kathryn Howd, President of the board for Florida CraftArt. “Katie brings us already established connections with arts centers and craft facilities statewide. Our board feels very fortunate to have attracted someone of Katie’s caliber to lead Florida CraftArt, as we meet the challenges of growing the statewide creative economy, by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work.” M
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