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Perlman seeks new director to continue to further mission

Carleton’s Perlman Teaching Museum is looking for a new director who would continue exploring its mission to incorporate visual learning into Carleton’s liberal arts experience and spark conversation in the local community, as stated on its website.

The committee taking charge of the applicant review process is composed of Carleton’s Director of the Arts Steve Richardson, a faculty member from the Art History department, one from the Studio Art department and one from a non-arts discipline, according to Richardson.

When it comes to the criteria of selecting candidates, Richardson explained that the ideal candidate is someone who demonstrates an “open and welcoming posture” to partners across campus and who is willing to fully explore the potential of collaboration. On top of the directors’ solid background in art and curation, the museum expects applicants to reach out to different voices, to build bridges and to create meaningful works that enrich the curriculum, Richardson added.

As to the procedures, Richardson said that the committee will search for candidates through multiple job boards for academic curation and through connections of faculty in the Art History department. As well as submitting a resume and a letter of interest, candidates are also required to write a curatorial statement about what they aspire to do as director.

After an initial review of materials, the committee will invite the final candidates to give public presentations on campus and host lunches so that members of the Carleton community can interact with them. Students and faculty are encouraged to respond to the content of the presentations and share how they believe the candidates will integrate into the Carleton community. The committee expects to make its final decision during the first couple weeks of Spring term, after all the finalists finish their presentations, according to Richardson.

The Perlman, located in the Weitz Center for Creativity, debuted in 2011 to replace the art gallery in the basement of the old Concert Hall. Now extending its role far beyond an upgraded multi-media space for art exhibitions, the museum strives to provide opportunities for students and scholars from various fields to collaborate and to experiment with new themes and curatorial practices, according to its website.

In Fall 2017, for example, Professor Bill North from the History department curated a collection of icons and other religious objects from Russian, Greek, Ethiopian, and Coptic Orthodox traditions. Students participating in his class on the same topic had the chance to contribute to the exhibition’s development and presentation.

“The museum is a place for the whole curriculum and the whole college to be engaged with artwork and visual culture,” said Richardson.

Viola Li ’19 interacted with Perlman Teaching Museum in multiple ways during her time as an art history major. As well as visiting exhibitions with themes ranging from science and aesthetics to Japanese paintings, she also put up a show in Perlman museum with her classmates in a curation seminar with the previous director.

“For our class the museum becomes a concrete thing to handle and a space for real curatorial practice,” said Li.

Like all the other art programs in Carleton, the Perlman Museum is open to the public and has been actively building connections with the Northfield community. Last summer, the museum showcased an exhibition developed by the Minnesota Humanities Center and its statewide partners on the importance of local clean water. Local residents and their families came to visit and to participate in related events.

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