Connie Wolf, who heads San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum as its director and CEO, will return to her college roots on Jan. 1. She's becoming the new director of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in East Asian studies in 1981.
Wolf, who has worked at the Jewish Museum since 1999, has shepherded the institution through major change. The small museum grew from a 2,500-square-foot building to a dramatic 63,000-square-foot space near Yerba Buena Gardens, where it moved in 2008. During that time, Wolf raised $85 million and worked with architect Daniel Libeskind to develop the facility plans, according to a Cantor center press release.
The Cantor's current director, Thomas K. Seligman, is retiring after heading the museum since 1991. He plans to continue teaching and doing research at Stanford, where one of his major focuses has been African art.
Nancy Troy, who chairs Stanford's art and art history department, said in a press release that choosing Wolf is an innovative move.
"Hiring someone whose background is not squarely in the history of art is a move that is unexpected and daring for Stanford -- and yet this is the moment for this, to think differently and be open to new directions, building upon the firm foundation that Tom Seligman and his staff have built over the last 20 years," she said.
Previously, Wolf served as associate director for public programs and curator of education at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. For the Jewish Museum's current exhibition "Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories," she also connected with her Stanford background: The lead guest curator was Wanda Corn, emeritus Stanford art professor.