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New director is cagey about Dede Wilsey, course for Fine Arts Museums

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Wall Street Journal has a (pay-walled) Q&A with Fine Arts Museums’ director-designate Colin Bailey today (board president Dede Wilsey declined WSJ’s invitation to be interviewed) that suggests, if nothing else, he’s quite the diplomat. Bailey is “looking forward to reading” a report by the city’s budget analyst critical of the museums’ lack of transparency about its finances and assets. And he looks forward to “studying the issue” of whether FAMSF’s board should enforce term limits on its members, including Wilsey, who’s been president since 1998.

Overall tenor: that Bailey, who comes aboard in June, has big challenges on his plate, including rebuilding memberships, which have fallen from 120,000 to 106,000 since the death of former director John Buchanan 15 months ago. Not to mention that fewer people are going to the De Young and Legion of Honor. There were 1.6 million visitors in 2011-12, down from 2.3  million the year before.

A photo of Bailey and Wilsey together accompanies The Art Newspaper’s announcement of his being hired.

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