My tenure at the DIA started in February 2008 (10 years ago!), when I was appointed Assistant Curator of European Paintings. As a DIA curator, I researched our extraordinary painting collection, enhanced our permanent galleries by displaying our artwork in new ways, curated temporary exhibitions, visited private and public art collections with our patrons, and identified new works for acquisition among many other things -- the work curators perform is one of the most interesting in the museum profession because of the multiplicity of duties that it entails.Of all these activities, some of my fondest memories relate to finding new artwork to add to our European collection. Exploring art auctions, visiting art galleries and attending art fairs were some of the ways I would find new paintings the DIA acquired for our community. It was also a way to share our knowledge and insight with patrons and advise them on their own art collecting activities, which eventually would secure future art gifts for our collection. The DIA is one of the few museums in the country that has significant endowments for art acquisitions. We created these endowments with very generous monetary gifts from philanthropists who wanted the DIA to continue growing its collections, providing funds that can be used only for purchasing art. Among these special funds, it is worth noting the ones designated by Robert H. Tannahill and by Rosemarie Kanzler for the benefit of the DIA and its community --- though there are many others.
In January we opened a new gallery, “Out of the Crate: New Gifts and Purchases,” where we showcase some of the new art objects that have entered our collection, including African, African American, American, Asian, European, Islamic, Latin American and Native American art among other collecting areas. Of course, we will not be able to show everything at once, but it will be a place where our visitors will have a sense of the growth, richness and diversity of our collections in which all our communities can see themselves reflected. In this space we also shed light on the thorough processes that we follow before acquiring any art or accepting any gift -- the extensive research that conservators and curators undertake as well as the logistics related to bringing art into our building, which involves the work of many different teams.