The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University will see a new director step into leadership effective March 1st.
Kent Michael Smith was appointed to the role by President Richard Linton, according to Thursday’s edition of K-State Today.
Linton called the museum a gem on the Manhattan campus, and says Smith brings with him an extensive background in museum strategy, management and philanthropic success.
“The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art is a gem on the Manhattan campus,” said Linton. “Kent has an extensive background in museum strategy, management and philanthropic success, and we’re very thankful to have him joining the university in this role, as his skill set will enable us to grow the success of the Beach Museum of Art to the next level.”
Smith is currently the deputy director of the Madison Muesum of Modern Art in Wisconsin. He calls the opportunity thrilling, and notes he’s long admired what he called forward-thinking initiatives and exceptional research energy at K-State. He’s been at the Madison Museum since 2021, and will be responsible for leading staff, setting program priorities and overseeing all museum operations and activities.
“It’s thrilling to join the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at this pivotal moment as we continue to shed the ongoing effects of the pandemic and look to reestablish how museums can best serve their ever-changing and adapting audiences,” said Smith. “I look forward to working with the incredible staff of the museum as we embark on new exhibitions and programming that support and advance that energy in ways that weave the arts into the fabric of the university’s curriculum through student engagement, faculty partnership, and community collaboration.”
His education background includes a Bachelor’s degree from Emporia State, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Ohio University.