Wichita Art Museum (Wichita, KS)
December 14, 2023
The Wichita Art Museum announced today that WAM Director/CEO Anne Kraybill will become CEO of Art Bridges Foundation, chaired and founded by philanthropist Alice Walton to expand access to art.
Kraybill’s departure was announced by Lou Heldman, chair of the WAM Board of Trustees. He said that TeOndra Phillips, a trustee, and treasurer of the museum, will become Interim Director. Phillips is a Certified Public Accountant with deep experience in museums and non-profit organizations.
WAM Curator Tera Hedrick and WAM Assistant Director/CFO Jan Harper will serve as Interim Deputy Directors.
Phillips said: “As a lifelong Wichitan and lover of the museum, I’ve been thrilled with the energy Anne and the staff have brought to the museum. We are well positioned to take the museum to the next level in providing rich cultural experiences for our community.”
Heldman said: “The Trustees are grateful to Anne for the innovations she brought to the museum, and we are confident we will find a new leader to build on Anne’s bold vision. Anne is leaving for an extraordinary opportunity and we’re sorry to lose her. We appreciate TeOndra, Tera and Jan taking on the interim roles and we are fortunate to have a great staff and dedicated volunteers and supporters. The museum has tremendous momentum right now with an energized staff, Board, Docents, donors and our support organization, Friends of the Wichita Art Museum.”
“We’ve had great reactions to WAM’s everyday free admission and, new acquisitions and Friday night programs. We look forward to seeing you at new attractions including renovated main galleries with new acquisitions and paintings from the permanent collection that haven’t been displayed in recent years. Families will especially appreciate the vibrant new interactive space called Play!”
Kraybill told Trustees, museum staff and supporters Thursday: “I have incredible respect for the team at WAM and I am proud of what we have accomplished together during my tenure, including eliminating the admission fee for the permanent collection, diverse new acquisitions and the new American Art Acquisition Fund, innovative programming and partnerships, and the newly installed galleries opening this month.
“WAM and Arts Bridges already have a strong partnership that will continue in my new role. The mission of Art Bridges is to expand access to American art in all regions across the United States. Since 2017, Art Bridges has created and supported programs that bring outstanding works of American art out of storage and into communities. The Wichita Art Museum has partnered with Art Bridges in many ways including the Art Bridges supported current featured exhibition William H. Johnson: Fighters for Freedom, which was originated by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Wichita Art Museum also received a $420,000 Art Bridges Access for All grant to help support marketing to new audiences and expanding access.”
Paula Downing, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “The positive impact Anne made in less than two years will be reflected upon for many years as WAM blossomed under her leadership. Some career opportunities are life changing and simply can’t be passed up. We’re glad she’s joining an organization that has financially supported WAM and already sees the value in what we’re doing in Wichita. And Wichita Art Museum Board of Trustees is committed to continuing to build on the momentum of the past year including exciting new exhibitions, diverse acquisitions, community partnerships, and planning for the facility.”
Naama Marcos, Director of Marketing and Communications