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The Ringling promotes two arts curators

Sarah Cartwright has been promoted to chief curator at The Ringling.
Sarah Cartwright has been promoted to chief curator at The Ringling.
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Sarah Cartwright has been promoted to chief curator and Jennifer Lemmer Posey has been elevated to head of the Circus Department at The John and Mable Ringing Museum of Art.

The Ringling said Cartwright's promotion makes her the first person to hold the title of chief curator at the museum in more than a decade. 

Cartwright will continue in her job as the Ulla R. Searing Curator of Collections, a position she has held since 2017. She will also continue to be responsible for the museum's collections of European and American paintings, sculpture and works on paper from Antiquity to 1900 CE.

Cartwright's expanded duties include overseeing the curatorial department and helping to influence The Ringling's long-term exhibitions and collections strategies to meet institutional strategic goals.

In a statement, Steven High, executive director of The Ringling, said: "Over the last decade of working with Sarah, I've watched her develop a deep knowledge of The Ringling and its collections along with a broad institutional perspective. With her track record of positive leadership, I know she is well poised to succeed in this role."

During her tenure as Searing Curator of Collections, Cartwright has expanded The Ringling's European collection and has completed two parts of a multi-year project to reinstall all 21 permanent collection galleries of the Museum of Art. 

Cartwright's current projects include "Guercino's Friar with a Gold Earring," an exhibition she co-curated with David M. Stone, professor emeritus of the University of Delaware. It runs through Jan. 7, 2024. The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same title, co-written by Stone and Cartwright. 

Based in Sarasota, The Ringling includes the Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, an 18th century theater, an historic mansion and Bayfront Gardens. It was established in 1927 by circus magnate John Ringling and was bequeathed to the people of Florida upon his death in 1936, along with an endowment.

Given its heritage, preserving the history of the circus is one of The Ringling's most important mandates. Posey, currently Tibbals Curator of Circus, has worked with the circus collections at the museum for more than two decades. 

In her new role, Posey will oversee a new department made up of the Ringling Archives and Circus Collection. The department was created to better meet the care and maintenance needs of the expanding circus collection and museum archives.

In her job, Posey interprets the museum's collection of objects and memorabilia related to circus history and facilitates academic study of the circus arts. 

She has contributed to the publications "The American Circus," and "The Amazing American Circus Poster." In addition, Posey was an advisory scholar for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival celebrating the circus arts in 2017.



Monica Roman Gagnier

Monica Roman Gagnier is the arts and entertainment editor of the Observer. Previously, she covered A&E in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the Albuquerque Journal and film for industry trade publications Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

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