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Academy Art Museum Welcomes Ben Simons as New Director

In October, the Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD, welcomed Benjamin T. Simons of Washington, DC as its new Director. Previously he worked for the Smithsonian American Art Museum/Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC, and was Chief Curator of the Nantucket Historical Association. Carolyn Williams, Chair of Academy Art Museum’s Board of Trustees, comments, “We are ecstatic to have a museum professional of Ben’s caliber leading the Academy.” She adds, “Our twin missions of arts education and exhibition of world class art are brilliantly served by Ben.”

As a burgeoning regional museum, the Academy Art Museum offers a broad spectrum of extraordinary cultural offerings. Over 60,000 annual museum visitors and participants experience national and local exhibitions, concerts, lectures, and visual and performing arts classes for adults and children. The Museum’s vibrant concert and lecture series attract top musicians, authors, and scholars from around the world. The Museum hosts the annual Academy Craft Show, and collaborates with sister non-profit organizations to present national events such as the Waterfowl Festival, Plein Air Festival, Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, and programs with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

Recent exhibitions at the Academy Art Museum have featured works by Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, James Turrell, Bill Viola, Pat Steir, and Peter Paul Rubens. Honorary Trustees of the Museum include James Turrell, Donald Saff, National Gallery of Art Director Earl A. Powell III, and Arnold Lehman, former Director of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Simons holds a Master’s Degree in History of Art from The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, a Master’s Degree from Yale University and an A.B. from Harvard University. He attended the Getty Leadership Institute for museum professionals in Claremont, CA. Simons has authored collections and exhibition catalogues, written two books on private art collections, and served as editor of the award-winning quarterly Historic Nantucket.

Ben and his wife, Alison Cooley, are natives of Washington, DC.  Alison is a practicing artist and they have a six-year-old son, Finley.

Simons comments, “I am passionate about the idea that art is central to the well-being of our communities. It’s a thrilling opportunity to lead the Museum, an institution that has that belief at the heart of its mission. I can’t wait to explore ways to make the Museum’s offerings even more vital to the cultural life of the region where natural beauty, a love of the arts, and a thriving non-profit culture enhance and enrich the lives of all residents and visitors.”

Pictured is Benjamin T. Simons of Washington, DC, the newly appointed director of the Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD.