After 25 years as director of the Wexner Center for the Arts, Sherri Geldin announced Wednesday that she will be stepping down at the end of December 2018.
Though she has no existing plans upon her departure, Geldin said now is the time for someone new to takeover at the Wexner Center and “help shape the next few decades.”
“What I can say about this particular perch that I have been privileged to occupy is that it allows you to be an impresario, to orchestrate all kinds of experiences, encounters, intersections between and among artists, and then between artists and a broad public, including, of course, university students,” Geldin told The Lantern. “That is a rare and special opportunity that I have really cherished.”
Prior to beginning her position at the Wexner Center in 1993, Geldin was the associate director of The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, where she worked for nearly a decade.
Through her development of the Wexner Center, Geldin has played a part in Columbus’ development as a city. Upon her arrival in 1993, the director said contemporary art was scarce in the city’s cultural institutions. Through her work, Geldin has helped local art institutions focus on contemporary practices in all disciplines, compared to just art history in film, theater and other art forms.
Melissa Starker, creative content and public relations manager at the Wexner Center, said the length of Geldin’s tenure is rare in all art institutions, not just a place like the Wexner Center that has a multidisciplinary approach. Under Geldin’s leadership, the center has transformed into a hub for contemporary arts across all mediums, setting it apart from other institutions.
“She means a lot to the people at the center, and more than anything, we want to make sure that people know what an incredible force she’s been, not just in the building, but in the city and beyond,” Starker said.
In the coming months, the Wexner Center Foundation Board and the Office of the Provost will work in tandem to appoint a search committee of trustees, university representatives and civic leaders that will begin a national search for potential candidates.
“Going forward, with Columbus having become a more sophisticated community in so many ways, and with the entrepreneurial spirit and the smart and open brand that the city has developed, certainly a place like the Wexner Center can continue to lead the way in defining, exploring, questioning and even provoking contemporary cultural production,” Geldin said. “I don’t see its mission in that way changing in the years to come.”