New director named for Memorial Art Gallery

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The new director has been announced for the Memorial Art Gallery. Sarah Jesse, director of the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland, will assume the position effective Feb. 26, 2024.

Jesse brings more than 20 years of experience in American art museums, serving in leadership, fundraising and programming roles. Since 2021 she has served as director of the Academy Art Museum in Easton, overseeing a 1,700-object collection, $1.7 million operating budget, $7.4 million endowment, $2.2 million capital project, and 24,000-square-foot building. She also has served as associate vice president of education at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and has led multiple efforts focused on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion in museums. She has served in roles at museums in Tulsa and Chicago, and was chair of the education committee of the American Alliance of Museums from 2014 to 2016.

“Given its resources, its collection spanning 5,000 years of human history, and the tradition of its university partnership, the Memorial Art Gallery has the power to change the lives of not only its visitors and students, but of Rochester itself, and I am truly excited to be a part of that work,” Jesse stated in a release. “At their best, museums contribute not just to the lives of individuals, but also to what makes cities vibrant and desirable to live in. I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to work at several art museums that have elevated their communities at large in many ways. As both a civic and academic institution, the Memorial Art Gallery serves two audiences, but its dual responsibility is complementary and, to my mind, provides infinite opportunities for this kind of community engagement.”

Jesse becomes the museum’s eighth director and will succeed Jonathan Binstock, who left MAG in early 2023 to become director of the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.D. Michael Marsh, MAG’s chief operating officer and deputy director, will continue serving as interim director until March.

“I am thrilled that Sarah Jesse will soon become our eighth museum director, which is a key leadership role that prominently serves both the University and the Rochester community,” University of Rochester Sarah Mangelsdorf stated in a release. “She is an inspiring leader who uses the power of art to build strong community connections. She believes that art museums can play a significant part in many people’s lives when the barriers to engagement are broken down, and that core belief is very exciting for us as we embark upon our