SAM Announces New Director

We are thrilled to report that, this morning, the Chairman of the Board of SAM announced the selection of Kimerly Rorschach as the next Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director of the Seattle Art Museum.Since 2004 Kim has been the Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, and we look forward to fall 2012 when she will formally begin her work at SAM.

In making the announcement, Charles Wright, Chairman of the Board said, “We feel fortunate to be bringing a new arts leader of such caliber to Seattle. Kim’s engagement with national and global arts issues, along with her combined experience in scholarship, business management and community engagement will benefit SAM and the wider community immeasurably and strengthen the city’s reputation as a national leader in the arts.”

Click here for more information about Kim.

We hope you will join us in welcoming Kim Rorschach and her husband this fall. Watch this space for more information about her start date and when you will have the chance to meet her yourself.

Important News about SAM

I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign as Director of the Seattle Art Museum effective June 30th. This was a difficult decision for me but with SAM today in a much stronger position than when I arrived, I believe the time is right for a change in leadership.

When the fiscal year ends on June 30th, we will post what might well be the most successful year in SAM’s 78-year history:

  • More visitors than ever to Downtown SAM (projected to be nearly 600,000)
  • Membership at an all time high (more than 48,000 household members)
  • Increased levels of community engagement
  • Picasso exhibition which had region-wide impact
  • Stabilization of our financial situation and real estate dilemma

I am proud that SAM has achieved so much and I am confident that the institution will continue to build on this success.

I am eager for a break and for the chance to undertake my own projects. First, I aim to spend more time with my family and refresh my professional perspective.  My passion for art history has been on hold while I focused on the most urgent administrative and financial challenges here.  Now, I want to re-establish my personal connection with the artists, objects, and ideas that got me into museum work in the first place.  My family and I have fallen in love with Seattle and we expect to remain here, so I hope to see you often.

Please know that I am grateful for having had this opportunity to serve the Seattle Art Museum and this community.


Derrick R. Cartwright

Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director