Polk Museum of Art Names Claire Orologas as New Director

Claire Orologas of Wheaton, Md., has been named executive director of Polk Museum of Art, the Board of Trustees announced today. Her appointment is effective February 1.

“I have been extremely impressed with the dedication of the staff and Board at Polk Museum of Art,” Orologas said. “I look forward to working with them and the citizens of Polk County to advance the goals of this wonderful institution, and to maximize its role as a Smithsonian Affiliate museum.”

The Polk Museum of Art

Orologas, 58, comes to Polk Museum of Art from the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., where she serves as the head of education and public programs. The Freer and Sackler are the Smithsonian Institution’s national museums of Asian Art.
“We are thrilled to welcome Claire to the Polk Museum of Art,” said Weymon Snuggs, president of the Board of Trustees. “She brings a wealth of experience in art and education, and she is a strong advocate of the civic responsibilities of museums. We are excited by the contributions she will make to our museum and our community.”

Art and education have been the cornerstones of Orologas’ career. At the Freer and Sackler, Orologas has broadened educational programs to appeal to a wider and more diverse audience, increasing attendance by 44 percent over a six-year period. She also has led fundraising efforts, increased the number of Smithsonian and non-Smithsonian partnerships, helped shape the institution’s strategic plan and served on several leadership committees both at the Freer and Sackler and at the Smithsonian. In 2010, she was one of just 25 from throughout the Smithsonian network selected for the Smithsonian Leadership Development Program.

She previously served as assistant director of education at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., and as assistant curator of education and programs coordinator at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She also previously served as executive director of the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra and as education and program director for Eckerd Youth Alternatives in Maryland.

A native of Warren, Ohio, Orologas moved to Greece with her family while in high school and later settled in St. Petersburg, Fla. She holds a bachelor of science degree in art education and studio art and a master’s of science in art education with a concentration in studio art from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She also pursued postgraduate studies in art history, focusing on modern art and the history of photography, at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Orologas succeeds Daniel E. Stetson, who left Polk Museum of Art in May to become executive director of the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tenn. – www.polkmuseumofart.org

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