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Tyler Museum of Art Director Kimberly Bush Tomio Announces Resignation

Kimberley Bush Tomio, Director of the Tyler Museum of Art

Kimberley Bush Tomio, Director of the Tyler Museum of Art

Kimberley Bush Tomio has announced her resignation as Director of the Tyler Museum of Art (TMA). She will be leaving the Museum on August 24 to pursue her new position as Director of Museum Services at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

“This decision was very difficult for me, as my twelve-year tenure at the TMA has been a tremendously rewarding experience,” said Mrs. Tomio. “The Museum has grown in scope and vision since my arrival, and has achieved many successes. It has been an honor to be part of the historic changes that took place­­ – and I am confident the Museum will continue to build upon its reputation and the local support from its members, foundations and donors who recognize the importance of maintaining a world-class art institution for this community and the wider east Texas region.”

While under the direction of Mrs. Tomio, with the help of dedicated staff and a supportive Board of Trustees, the Museum has doubled its household memberships, tripled its annual budget and increased its permanent collection by over 1,000 works, including a significant pair of six-panel folding screens by 18th century Japanese artist Soga Shohaku and the Laura and Dan Boeckman Collection of Mexican Folk Art of over 650 works, one of the largest collections of its kind in the United States. The TMA also acquired a long-term loan of over 800 works of 19th and early 20th century American art from the Jean and Graham Devoe Williford Charitable Trust.

In 2006, after an extensive application process, the Museum was awarded accreditation by the American Association of Museums. Out of nearly 17,500 museums in the nation, only 4% meet the rigorous professional standards and achieve this distinction.

Over the past 12 years, the Museum has presented numerous culturally diverse and world-class exhibitions, including Chihuly Baskets, Edward Hopper: The Paris Years, The Devonshire Inheritance: Five Centuries of Collecting at Chatsworth, Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture from the Victoria & Albert Museum and James Abbott McNeill Whistler: Selections from the Hunterion Museum, Glasgow. The Museum also organized and presented the special exhibition American Life & Storytelling: The Art of Norman Rockwell, which surpassed all attendance records in the history of the Museum, which opened in 1971. In less than nine and a half weeks, over 26,000 visitors came through the exhibition.

The TMA has also organized dozens of exhibitions featuring its stellar permanent collection and special presentations of early to contemporary Texas art.

Over the past three years, Mrs. Tomio and her staff have worked diligently to organize The Wyeths Across Texas, an ambitious and important exhibition which will be on view from September 7 through December 9, 2012, then traveling to the El Paso Museum of Art. This will be the first major show featuring works by N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth—considered the most famous family of American artists–to be presented in Texas in over 25 years. All of the works are being borrowed from museums and private collections in Texas.   

Mrs. Tomio arrived in Tyler in 2000 from Dallas, where she had served as Director of the Crow Collection of Asian Art and Associate Director at the Dallas Museum of Art. Prior to that, she held positions at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

Next month, Mrs. Tomio will start her position as the Director of Museum Services at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. The Asian is one of San Francisco’s premier arts institutions and home to more than 18,000 art treasures. The museum is one of the largest in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art.

Reporting to Director Jay Xu, Mrs. Tomio will be responsible for providing leadership, vision, direction, and supervision for the Museum Services Department, as well as serving as an active participant in the overall management and planning of the museum.

“Kim has been a huge asset to this Museum and community,” said Verna Hall, President of the Board of Trustees. “The Museum has really prospered under her guidance and we hate to see her leave. We wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

The Museum will begin a search for a new Director in the weeks to come.

“The Tyler Museum of Art’s future is an exciting one, and I look forward with anticipation to the realization of a new museum project and enhanced endowment, plans for which the board undertook after several years of internal planning and commitment, and toward which much has already been achieved,” said Mrs. Tomio.

The Tyler Museum of Art exists as an educational and cultural center to enrich the lives of East Texas citizens and visitors through the collection, preservation, study, exhibition, interpretation, and celebration of the visual arts. The Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums and is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. For more information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit

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