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Blanton Museum of Art Announces Three New Key Hires

The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin announces the appointment of Ray Williams, Francesca Consagra, and Colette Crossman, filling three important vacancies with some of the best and brightest minds in the museum field, strengthening The Blanton’s leadership role among university art museums.

  • Ray Williams will join The Blanton as director of education and academic affairs on June 18, coming from The Harvard Art Museums.
  • Francesca Consagra will be senior curator of prints, drawings and European paintings effective June 25, coming from The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis
  • Colette Crossman will become The Blanton’s curator of exhibitions on April 1. She currently serves as The Blanton’s administrator of arts and programs.

“Ray and Francesca are widely recognized as among the very best in their fields nationally, and we are tremendously thrilled that they are bringing their distinctive talents and depth of experience to The Blanton team,” said director Simone Wicha. “Colette’s valuable contributions have greatly benefited the museum, and she is well suited to take on her significant new role. These exciting new appointments are an important step in further distinguishing The Blanton as a center for innovation and excellence in the arts.”

UT President Bill Powers adds, “The Blanton Museum of Art is among the greatest university museums in the country. Attracting this caliber of talent will enable us to bring even greater value to our students and accelerate our commitment to building a museum of national and global importance.”

Ray Williams

Ray Williams joins The Blanton as director of education and academic affairs, effective June 18. Recognized as a leader in the field of art museum education, Williams comes to The Blanton from a recent post at The Harvard Art Museums where he oversaw the educational initiatives of that university’s Fogg, Busch-Reisinger and Arthur M. Sackler Museums, and where he established a new education department that expanded programming for university and community audiences. At Harvard, Williams directed a project supported by the National Endowment for the Arts designed to support immigrants preparing for the U.S. Citizenship Examination. He also worked extensively with faculty at Harvard’s graduate schools of medicine, business, and education to develop approaches to using the art museum to encourage better teamwork and professional reflection on core values.

Prior to his position at Harvard, Williams served as director of education at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum of Art, and in that same role at the Peabody Essex Museum and the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries. Williams has taught as adjunct faculty in Brown University’s graduate program in public humanities and served as a consultant for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the National Gallery of Art, and the Dallas Museum of Art, among numerous other institutions. He was awarded a Fulbright-Hayes Travel Grant for travel in India in 2003 and was named National Art Museum Educator of 1997 by the National Art Education Association. Williams holds a M.Ed. from Harvard University, an M.A. in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a B.A. from Western Carolina University.

Francesca Consagra

Francesca Consagra has been appointed senior curator of prints, drawings, and European paintings effective June 25. She comes to The Blanton from The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis where she has served as senior curator since 2008. During her tenure there, Consagra organized exhibitions including Urban Alchemy/Gordon Matta-Clark (2009-10), Dreamscapes (2011), and Reflections of the Buddha (2011-12) — all of which directly responded to The Pulitzer’s building by architect Tadao Ando. Her exhibitions and accompanying catalogues cover a wide range of interests including Rembrandt’s prints, botanical illustrations, Indian and Buddhist art, and contemporary German drawings.

Prior to taking her position at The Pulitzer Foundation, Consagra served as curator and head of the department of prints, drawings and photographs at the St. Louis Art Museum, and as curator of prints and drawings at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and lecturer in the art department at Vassar College. She oversaw the Suida-Manning Collection of Old Master drawings at Vassar before it was acquired by The Blanton in 1998. She was a research associate at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, where she worked on two international exhibitions devoted to Renaissance and Baroque architecture, and is the recipient of fellowships from the National Gallery of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Consagra has served on the board of the Print Council of America and as a review panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities and other arts organizations. She received her doctorate and master’s degrees in art history from The Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Connecticut College.

Colette Crossman

Colette Crossman will assume the role of curator of exhibitions at the museum effective April 1. In this position, she will oversee all aspects of exhibition planning and production, working with the director and curators to strategically develop an exhibition program that advances the museum’s mission and aligns with its brand. Crossman will also serve as managing curator for traveling exhibitions hosted at The Blanton.

Before joining The Blanton in 2010, Crossman served as curator of academic programs at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, and as a curatorial research associate and education programs assistant at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Yale Center for British Art, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, among others. She holds a doctorate in art history from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and a B.A. in art history from Texas Christian University.

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