The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center Expands Its Senior Team
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College welcomes three new members to the senior team as it seeks to enhance its impact on audiences everywhere. These individuals play important roles at the Loeb, ranging from overseeing the care and cataloguing of the collection, to developing and interpreting its collection of works on paper, and to strengthening the role of the arts in the communities it serves.
Beginning in August, Amanda Potter will become the inaugural Putnam Assistant Director of Learning and Community Engagement. Her position is the result of a reorganization and expansion of the Loeb’s outreach efforts, and it is generously funded by Kathy Zillweger Putnam ’75, a Trustee of the College and Co-Chair of the Loeb Leadership Council, and her husband, George Putnam III, a business executive and publisher. Amanda will be the first person to serve in this role. Since 2016, she has been the Curator of Education and Interpretation at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. While there, she worked to increase access and inclusion at the museum through a variety of efforts, including: eliminating fees for school field trips; introducing free family programs; augmenting financial aid; and designing new school programs to better serve the local community of New Brunswick. She also oversaw the creation of Zimmerli at Home to deliver virtual content for an array of stakeholders during the museum’s extended closure due to COVID-19. Previously, Amanda spent ten years as the Educator for Public and University Programs at the Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts. She also worked at Kidspace at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, at the Williams College Museum of Art, and at Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art, as well as serving as an intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her publications include an article in the Archives of American Art Journal and numerous gallery guides. Amanda received a BA in art history from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree from the Graduate Program in the History of Art at Williams College.
Since last fall, John P. Murphy has been the Philip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings. The Straus family, longtime supporters of the Loeb, established this endowed position in 1994, and John is the third person to serve in the role. From 2018 to 2021, he was the Hoehn Curatorial Fellow for Prints at the University of San Diego, where he curated a variety of exhibitions on topics ranging from John Ruskin to José Guadalupe Posada. His fellowship culminated with Storywork: The Prints of Marie Watt, a traveling retrospective co-organized with the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation. In his position
as Research Associate and Mellon Fellow (2015-2018) at the Art Institute of Chicago, John curated Flesh: Ivan Albright (2018), which was accompanied by an award-winning digital publication. In both San Diego and Chicago, he taught courses on romanticism, modern and contemporary art, art historical methodologies, and the artist as social critic. Recent scholarship has appeared in Print Quarterly, Art in Print, American Communist History, and Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art. His research has been supported with grants and fellowships from the Winterthur Museum, the Huntington Library, the Tamiment Library (NYU), and the Wolfsonian Museum. He received his PhD from Northwestern University in 2017. John’s first exhibition at the Loeb, In Translation: Prints Across Media, will open May 28, and this coming fall he will teach a six-week intensive course in the Department of Art at Vassar College, Paper Protests: Printmaking as Social Activism.
Starting late last summer, Kelly Reynolds became the Head Registrar for Collections and Exhibitions, assuming a new title and overseeing a much larger and reorganized department. She came to the Loeb with an impressive background and extensive professional experience. Over the course of more than two decades, she has worked as an Assistant Curator, an Exhibitions Coordinator, and a Registrar and Collections Manager for museums, galleries, and a foundation in Florida and New York. Most recently, Kelly worked for six years at Pace Gallery—including serving as the Head Registrar overseeing fifteen registrars (nine in New York and six globally) —one of the leading international contemporary art galleries. She earned her BA in art history from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in contemporary art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Her administrative, financial, and management expertise have already proven to be invaluable as the Loeb continues to build on its solid foundations, supported by an incredible team of registrars and preparators.
A number of community members, alums, faculty, administrators, students, and staff either served on the search committees for these positions or met with the candidates during their visits to Poughkeepsie, for which we are very grateful. The appointments of Amanda, John, and Kelly reflect the Loeb’s commitment to increase the scope of its operations and the impact on its audiences. As noted by T. Barton Thurber, the Anne Hendricks Bass Director of the Loeb, the recent hires are emblematic of the leadership, professionalism, and dedication of the entire team, as well as its partners on campus and beyond.