Hope Alswang will step down next year from her position as the executive director and CEO of the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida. Alswang, who has been the Norton’s director for the past nine years, will leave the museum in March, a few weeks after it unveils its new 59,000-square-foot expansion in mid-February.
In a statement, Alswang said, “The founder of this institution, Ralph Norton, gave the Museum a simple but powerful mission: to share and celebrate great works of art with the public. During my time here, in collaboration with a remarkably dedicated board of trustees and brilliantly talented staff, I’ve tried to interpret the meaning of that mission. Which works do we designate as great art? What are the ways in which we can share and celebrate them? Who do we mean, when we speak of the public? The answers we formulated together have now taken tangible form in our new wing.”
Since Alswang began in her current position, in 2010, she has helped the museum raise $100 million, which it has put toward a plan called the “New Norton.” That initiative involves adding 35 percent more gallery space to the museum, as well as a new auditorium and dining area. A $16 million gift to the museum from the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund was announced last month. This spring, the museum received a donation of more than 100 works from the collection of Howard and Judie Ganek.
At the Norton, Alswang also launched various initiatives to diversify the museum’s holdings. Among them is “Recognition of Art by Women,” an ongoing series of exhibitions dedicated to female artists working in painting and sculpture. Also begun during her tenure was the Rudin Prize, which is given biennially to an emerging photographer who has never had a museum show. Prior to working at the Norton, Alswang had been the director of the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art.
Harry Howell, the chair of the Norton’s board of trustees, said in a statement that Alswang “had an electrifying effect” on the institution, adding that he and the other board members have begun their search for the Norton’s next director.