Curated Conversation: Artful Leadership: A Blanton Board Q&A

Ever wondered what Blanton National Leadership Board members do and how they got involved with the museum? Find out in this behind-the-scenes look at Board membership! Several Blanton Board members will share why they joined our Board, the diverse experiences they bring to their roles, and the future they envision for the museum and its community. Blanton Director Simone Wicha will moderate a discussion with Suzanne McFayden, Gilberto Cárdenas, and Tom Dunning.

About Our Speakers

In 2011 Simone Wicha became the Blanton’s fifth director, and has built a nationally recognized team of curators, educators, and other museum professionals. By overseeing the development of ground-breaking exhibitions, scholarship, and publications that have enriched the museum experience for the Blanton’s diverse audiences, Wicha has helped raise the museum’s standing internationally. Under her leadership, the Blanton has greatly strengthened its education mission and its acquisitions program, undertaken the first comprehensive renovation and reinstallation of its permanent collection galleries in 10 years, and acquired and constructed Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin. She is currently leading a partnership with Snøhetta to re-envision the Blanton’s grounds and establish the museum as a top destination in Austin. Wicha was born in Texas and raised in Mexico City, and is a proud Longhorn.

Gilberto Cárdenas recently retired as executive director of the Center for Arts and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, where he is also a professor emeritus of sociology. Cárdenas taught at The University of Texas at Austin from 1975-1999. He opened Galería Sin Fronteras in 1986, a gallery in Austin featuring Chicana/o and Latina/o artists. Cárdenas was an advisory council member for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Gates Millennium Scholars and is a founding member of the Smithsonian Latino Center Board. He also serves on the El Museo del Barrio board. Cárdenas joined the Blanton National Leadership Board in early 2020.

Suzanne McFayden, writer, parent and art lover, was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica until beginning Cornell University in 1983. After graduating with her BA in 1987, she worked in the retail industry in NYC. Subsequent to that, she received her MFA from Mills College in Oakland in 2005. She joined the Blanton National Leadership Board in 2015 and also serves on the board of the Studio Museum of Harlem.

Tom Dunning joined the Blanton National Leadership Board in 2014, with his wife Sally, a passionate art collector. Tom, named an Outstanding Dallas UT Ex, is a member the UT Steve Hicks School of Social Work Advisory Council and serves on the UT Southwestern Medical Center Audit Committee. He is Chairman Emeritus of Lockton Dunning Benefits. Texas Governors have appointed Tom to major state Boards and Commissions and Dallas Mayors have called on Tom to address and resolve challenging issues facing Dallas, ranging from homelessness to race and equal opportunity. Tom’s commitment is to advance the quality of life for all.

Dial-In Information

Will be held via Zoom

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 5:00pm

Virtual Event
Event Type

Arts & Humanities

Target Audience

Students, Staff, Faculty, Alumni, General Public




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