Thursday, September 16, 2010

Woodmere Art Museum News: The New Director


PHILADELPHIA (September 16, 2010) - Woodmere Art Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of William Valerio as the Patricia Van Burgh Allison Director and CEO.  Valerio is committed to continuing and building on Woodmere's strengths as Philadelphia's premier institution for interpreting the art and culture of Philadelphia. Valerio's leadership will ensure the continuity and growth of the institution.

Dianne A. Meyer, Board President, says, "Bill Valerio brings strong expertise in both art history and strategic planning to Woodmere at a time when the museum is preparing to move forward and become an even more vital institution with great opportunities for growth in many areas. With his experience and leadership, I believe that Woodmere will be able to further its mission and connect with audiences in exciting new ways."

Marguerite Lenfest, Board Vice President says, "Devoting my energy, along with many others, to the advancement of Woodmere has been a great passion of mine.  I am thrilled that we have such a talented and able leader who can bring new energy and experience to Woodmere.  We are on to a promising new era!"

Valerio is committed to Woodmere's partnership with the architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, who have maintained a long-standing, positive relationship with the Museum. Among Valerio's first priorities is to create a long range plan for Woodmere that will assess deferred maintenance and the Museum's facility needs. Since 1958, Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates has helped to shape the course of contemporary architecture and planning.  From innovation in contextual design to the use of symbolism and iconography, VSBA's work has helped to expand concepts of what architecture can be. This focus makes them an ideal partner for Woodmere.

William Valerio says, "I am honored to become the Patricia Van Burgh Allison Director and CEO of Woodmere, which is a jewel among the many great cultural institutions of Philadelphia.  I am eager to partner with Woodmere's Board of Trustees, dedicated staff and volunteers, and broad community of supporters to build on the institution's many assets, including its wonderful collections, education programs, historic buildings, and mission to interpret Philadelphia's cultural heritage.  I believe in the importance of this mission because the story of art and culture in Philadelphia is deep, diverse, and rich, and it resonates across our region and beyond. I look forward to embarking on this new chapter in which Woodmere strengthens its relationships with the many communities it serves and becomes known as the pride of Chestnut Hill, Germantown, Mount Airy, and all of Philadelphia."

With almost 20 years experience in museums Valerio is an ideal candidate to fill this role at Woodmere Art Museum.  Most recently Valerio served as the Assistant Director for Administration for the Philadelphia Museum of Art where he was instrumental in government relations, advocacy, and public funding responsibilities, working with the Museum's Director, President, and Trustees to build relationships with elected officials of the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Federal Government.  Valerio was also integral in fund raising and grant writing to generate support for capital projects, operations and programming.  Gail Harrity, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, recognized Valerio's talents and recruited him to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Harrity, says, "Bill possesses a unique combination of skills that will serve Woodmere extraordinarily well, ranging from expertise as an art historian to business and government affairs. His energy and warmth will be much missed at the Museum where he has made a great contribution over the last six years."

Valerio's educational degrees are prestigious: MBA in Marketing and Strategic Management from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 2004; Ph.D. in Art History, specializing in European Modernism, from Yale University in 1996; MA in History of Art with a 17th-century specialization from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987; Bachelor of Arts from Williams College in 1985.  He is also a fellow of the American Academy in Rome. Valerio curated his first exhibitions at the Yale University Art Gallery as a graduate student in 1988, and joined the Queens Museum of Art as Curator in 1997. He also taught at New York University, has written for Art in America, and worked as an Independent Curator and Consultant prior to joining the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Valerio is also an active community member sitting on the Host Committee for Powershift Philadelphia and is also a Co-Chair from 2009-present and Board of Directors, Philagrafika, 2006-present.

WOODMERE ART MUSEUM is located on Germantown Avenue in historic Chestnut Hill. The building, grounds and the nucleus of the permanent collection of Woodmere Art Museum are the benefactions of Charles Knox Smith (1845 - 1916) whose wish it was to create "a very lively art awaken the spirit of, the appreciation of, and the knowledge of art . . . in the City of Philadelphia and surrounding territory."

Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Woodmere celebrates the richness of the Philadelphia region's artistic legacy through its permanent collection, exhibitions, and educational programs. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. Call 215-247-0476 or visit for more information.
Media Contact:
Christa Guidi, Cashman & Associates