The sudden end of Maxwell Anderson’s tenure as director of the Dallas Museum of Art left some speculating about what other changes may follow in its wake. After all, Anderson was the driving force behind a laundry list of high-profile initiatives at the museum that quickly made the DMA one of the most dynamic regional art institutions in the nation. Would the momentum continue without Anderson?
Anderson’s resume with the museum included “Friends and Partners,” the museum’s widely acclaimed free admission policy; a bold approach to the repatriation of art works, which saw the museum make headlines when it returned a number of antiquities in its collection to their countries of origin; and the hiring of Sabiha Al Khemir as Senior Advisor for Islamic Art, perhaps an important first step in the eventual securing of a long term loan of the world-renowned Keir Collection of Islamic Art last year. It all added up to a laundry list of accomplishments that usually aren’t followed by a surprising departure like Anderson’s, and so some were wondering over the holiday if there were more shoes to drop.
The answer appears to be yes. This week came the announcement by the museum that the Late Nights program would no longer fall under the free admission guidelines. Like ticketed exhibitions, Late Night events, which take place after 5 p.m. every third Friday, will now require a $15 fee to attend. The funds will be used “to help support and enhance educational programming and initiatives at the DMA,” according to a museum spokesperson. Admission to the museum during normal operating hours will continue to be free.
But the new fees aren’t the only changes at the DMA. A spokesperson has confirmed that Deputy Director Rob Stein will leave the museum at the end of the week to take a position as a Senior Adviser for the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University. Stein was Anderson’s right hand man. He followed the director to Dallas after serving in a similar capacity when the two were at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. As in Indy, Stein led most of the digital-driven new initiatives at the DMA, including the Friends and Partners program, which includes a kind of credit card point system that rewards users for logging various museum experiences into their phone. The museum spokesperson said there were currently no changes planned for the Friends and Partners program.