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AAMC Nominee for 2013 - 2015 President: Emily Ballew Neff
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The Nominating & Governance Committee of the AAMC is pleased to announce that the 2013 - 2015 nominee for President of the AAMC will be Emily Ballew Neff, Curator of American Paintings & Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  The committee met last week and selected Dr. Neff as the nominee; as such, she will become the AAMC's first curator of American art to lead the organization.  She will begin her with a two-year term in June, 2013.  Until then, she will continue to serve as the AAMC’s Vice President of Communications, a position she has held since 2011.  Members will be asked to ratify the full officer slate, including nominees for vice presidential positions to be selected at a later date, at the AAMC Annual Meeting on May 6, 2013. 

Dr. Neff has been a member of the AAMC since its inception twelve years ago.  Since that time she has served in many leadership roles for the AAMC including as Prize committee chair (2008-11) and VP of Communications. 


Nominee Statement of Interest

As a member of the AAMC since its inception in 2002, I am honored to be nominated for the position of President of the AAMC. I have held leadership positions in the organization, serving as Chair of the Prize Committee and now Vice President, Communications, on the AAMC’s Executive Committee.  Over the past decade the AAMC has grown from a fledgling group to a robust association with over 800 members from the United States and Canada, one that provides an extraordinary opportunity for interacting with our colleagues and sharing our collective wisdom about what it means to be an art museum curator (in a world in which everyone is a "curator”) and what it may mean in the future. A stagnant economy combined with budget cutbacks makes it increasingly difficult for us to do the work we take such pleasure in doing and to share the value of that work with our audiences, the latter a changing demographic that has shown signs of shrinking. Now more than ever, we need each other. Our core values as an organization—to help curators develop professionally, to mentor younger colleagues and attract new curators to the field, to advocate for and promote the role of art curators in communities everywhere—remain strong, but we can be stronger. Building our membership in Canada, recruiting members in Mexico, diversifying the membership to more adequately represent North America’s many ethnicities, would expand our base, our reach, and open up new opportunities for exchange. At the same time, we need to create an easier way to help one another respond nimbly to the many changes and hardships we face, to anticipate those challenges and to turn them into proverbial opportunities. AAMC members are extremely hard working and take seriously their role in the communities in which they serve, but we are often so busy that it is all too easy to lose sight of the bigger picture or simply run out of time to tackle some of the larger issues we face. The AAMC—as a think tank for issues large and small, a clearing house for information, a resource for nurturing professional growth, and an advocate for the profession—is and should be the organization we can always depend on. It would be a great opportunity, and one that I would welcome, to lead the AAMC and advance its goals.       


 - Emily Ballew Neff


Nominee Biography


Emily Ballew Neff, curator American painting and sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is responsible for the museum’s collection of pre-1945 American art. She received a bachelor’s degree in art history from Yale University, a master’s degree in art history from Rice University, and a doctorate in art history from the University of Texas at Austin. Two major fields of interest include eighteenth-century Anglo-America, and nineteenth and twentieth-century American landscape and photography, which have resulted in the exhibitions on John Singleton Copley in England, which she co-organized with the National Gallery of Art; The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890-1950, which traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the forthcoming American Adversaries: West and Copley in a Transatlantic World.  Grants received include the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and the Raymond and Margaret Horowitz Foundation. Scholarships and fellowships include the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art (CASVA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and Research Center, and the Clark Art Institute. A public lecturer in the U.S. and in England, she has also served on the faculty of Rice University as distinguished lecturer.

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