Sarasota Art Museum has a new leader.
Virginia Shearer, the director of education at Atlanta’s world-renowned High Museum of Art, will begin work as executive director of Ringling College of Art and Design’s museum on Aug. 30.
She takes over for Anne-Marie Russell, who earlier this year became executive director of Architecture Sarasota, a merging of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation and the Center for Architecture Sarasota.
At the Atlanta museum, Shearer oversees the organization’s entire education department and serves on the six-member executive team.
“Virginia has been such an instrumental part of the High’s success that her presence will be greatly missed,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director, High Museum of Art. “Nonetheless, we’re thrilled for her. We’re also excited to watch her impact the field more broadly in her new role as director.”
Shearer received a Bachelor of Arts degree in humanities from Florida State University and a Masters from The George Washington University in museum education.
“She has built her excellent reputation as a leader in the museum field by developing a solid track record in creating experimental, collaborative, and research-based platforms for engagement that will serve the Museum and our community well,’’ Ringling College president Dr. Larry Thompson said. “We are especially excited to work with her and explore expanding even further the reach and excellence of the Museum through partnerships, inclusivity, and access.’’
Sarasota Art Museum opened to the public in December, 2019 in the original Sarasota High School building at 1001 S. Tamiami Trail. The institution is Sarasota’s first museum dedicated solely to contemporary art.