School of Art director to remain for another year

The School of Art will not hire a new director this year after negotiations failed with the selected candidate, a university administrator said.

Scott Sullivan, dean of the College of Fine Arts, said the candidate wanted to be granted tenure upon being hired, but university policy prohibits this practice.

Ronald Watson, the school’s current director, originally planned to step down at the end of the spring semester to return to full-time teaching but will now hold the position for another year.

Sullivan said the top two candidates for the job were Libby Lumpkin, most recently the director of the Las Vegas Art Museum, and Nan Freeman, a professor at the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts. He declined to name which of the two candidates the school chose for the job. The other candidate declined the school’s offer.

Now that he will serve another year as director, Watson wrote in an e-mail that his goals for the school are to keep its momentum at a high pace and to continue to exhibit challenging art to the campus and Fort Worth community.

As the school’s director, Sullivan said one of Watson’s most important achievements was getting the department of art and art history accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design two years ago. This allowed the department to be named a school of art.

Getting accredited helped the school achieve a significant level of national recognition, Watson said. It also made the university one of only 10 accredited Texas schools for art.

Watson said his greatest achievement was establishing the Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, a gallery which opened in February 2008. The gallery allowed the school to hold more exhibitions and art shows than it used to be able to accommodate for the benefit of the community and students.

Watson wrote in the e-mail that the school was disappointed it was unable to hire a new director, but called the decision to continue searching for a new person wise.

Sullivan said the school thought the candidate was a good fit for the school; however, it will continue the search for new candidates next year.