Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery Director to Speak in Sedona

How Museums Bring Communities Together Through Art and Empathy

The Sedona Art Museum is pleased to announce its spring Speaker Series luncheon program featuring Kim Sajet, director of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.  The event will take place 12:00 noon to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 13th at the Sedona Rouge Resort & Spa ballroom, 2250 West S.R. 89A, Sedona, Arizona.

“In an era of unprecedented change, successful museums in the 21st century are becoming important places to have critical conversation affecting our nation and the world.  Traditionally repositories of things, museums are more frequently becoming centers for ideas that allow visitors to re-discover their shared values and acknowledge issues of controversy and dissent,” says Sajet.

Particularly addressing the question “Can empathy be taught?,” Kim Sajet will talk about how she has sought to redefine the art of portraiture in order to open a dialogue between people of different backgrounds and points of view.  She has overseen several groundbreaking exhibitions, such as “Elaine de Kooning: Portraits,” “American Cool,” and “Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction.”  Sajet also launched the “Identify” contemporary performance artist series, commissioned the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company, a choreographer in residence; and is gradually introducing Spanish, Braille and ASL as additional language throughout the museum.

From 2000-2013, Sajet was president and CEO of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, headquartered in Philadelphia.  She was senior vice president and deputy director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art museum and school in the country.  She has held management positions in the Philadelphia Museum of Art and two Australian art museums.  In addition, Sajet has written a number of scholarly publications, curated permanent collections and touring exhibitions, and spoken at academic symposia.

Sajet earned her master’s degrees in art history and business administration at Bryn Mawr College and at Melbourne University Business School in Australia.  She has completed arts leadership training at the Harvard Business School, the Getty, and National Arts Strategies.  Born in Nigeria, she was raised in Australia and is a citizen of The Netherlands.  She also speaks Dutch and French.

If you have further questions, please contact Harriet McInnis, 282-0788, Chair – Speaker Series.

Please visit the Sedona Art Museum to purchase tickets to this event. 

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