Grand Rapids Art Museum hires new director

Jun 2, 2011

Michigan's art museums have been on a hiring spree lately.

Michigan State University brought in a new museum director earlier this year. The University of Michigan did the same last year. And now the Grand Rapids Art Museum has hired a new art director. His name is Dana Friis-Hansen, and he's really excited to take the lead at the GRAM.

Friis-Hansen most recently worked at the Austin Museum of Art. He says for his new job he was looking for a strong creative community, but also a place where he could "bump things up a little." Seems fitting for a guy who recently gave a PechaKucha talk titled "Setting Art Museums on Fire."

"Whenever I take a job, I sort of look at what's been done, what's been seen, and then I look at the negative space -- what's missing, what's not there -- and bring it to the community."

Friis-Hansen won't say where the gaps are just yet, he says he needs to do more research. He also says he's hungry to see what people in Grand Rapids want for their museum.

One of his main goals for the museum is to make it relevant, and serve people in different ways than it has in the past. Friis-Hansen says his philosophy is that "a 21st century museum should be a convener of the community... part of the community's every day  life."

Friis-Hansen officially begins work at the GRAM on Wednesday, July 13. The museum will hold a community reception at the that Friday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. so people can meet the new director; admission will be free that day.