Mindy Besaw, the Margaret and Dick Scarlett Curator of Western American Art for the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Whitney Western Art Museum, has accepted the position of Curator for the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. She remains in her current position at the Whitney through December 31, 2014.
“While we regret losing Mindy from our exceptional curatorial team here at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West,” says Executive Director and CEO Bruce Eldredge, “we congratulate her on this opportunity. It’s a wonderful career move for her.”
Besaw joined the Center of the West’s staff in January 2007 and has spearheaded a number of projects, most notably the reinstallation of the Whitney Western Art Museum for its 50th anniversary in 2009. Following an educational leave of absence to work on her PhD coursework at the University of Kansas, she returned to Cody and immediately began work on a major traveling exhibition, Go West: Art of the American Frontier, which traveled to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, for six months last winter.
“The Whitney Museum has benefited immensely from Mindy’s expertise, hard work, and creativity during her tenure here,” notes Eldredge. “Under her leadership, the gallery has become a dynamic space, with an engaging mixture of historic and contemporary art that is frequently rotated to bring in new and different works from our amazing collection.”
Besaw has also been instrumental in taking the Whitney Museum—and the Center as a whole—beyond its own walls through traveling exhibitions. A smaller version of the Go West exhibition that went to Georgia is scheduled for future runs at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Palm Springs Art Museum in California.
As curator at Crystal Bridges, Besaw will coordinate all activities related to the planning, selection, scholarship, interpretation, travel, and publication of the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. Established by Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founders Sam and Helen Walton, Crystal Bridges opened to the public in November 2011 and welcomed more than 650,000 visitors in its first year. Its collection spans five centuries of American art and interprets the development over time of techniques and styles, and emphasizes uniquely American moments when American art differed significantly from European art.
The Center of the West plans a national search to fill the position of Margaret and Dick Scarlett Curator of Western American Art. For more information on the Whitney Western Art Museum, visit centerofthewest.org/our-museums/western-art. Find out more about the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art at crystalbridges.org.