After an exhaustive search that spanned nearly the entire academic year, the College announced last Friday that Kevin Salatino will become the director of the Museum of Art in August. Salatino, who currently serves as the head of the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), will bring years of experience of working in museums—as well as a background in academia—to campus next fall.

Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd, who served as a member of the search committee for the position, said she was "thrilled that we've been able to recruit Kevin Salatino to Bowdoin."

Salatino said he was eager to start work on August 3.

"I'm looking forward to having a terrific collection that can move in any number of areas with a terrific team of people who are capable of helping the place really sing," Salatino told the Orient on Thursday.

"One of the things I want to do right away when I get there is sit down with representatives of the student body, because I really want the students to feel connected to the museum," he added.

Before taking on his current position at LACMA in 2000, Salatino worked for nine years as the Curator of Graphic Arts at the Getty Research Institute. Prior to beginning his career working in museums, he taught art history at Middlebury College.

"When I taught at Middlebury, I liked it, but interestingly enough, I didn't love it, and I thought 'maybe this isn't the way I want to go,'" Salatino said. "So when a position came up at the Getty Research Institute, it was somewhere between being a curator and a scholar... I thought, 'let me give that a try,' and I liked it a lot."

Salatino characterized the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles as a hybrid between strict scholarly work and a museum. It serves as a center for study, but also for sharing that study with the public through programming such as lectures and exhibits. Working as the Curator of Graphic Images at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles served Salatino well.

"For me, it was the perfect transition from academia," he said.

But when the opportunity to work at LACMA came up, Salatino was excited to move into the realm of exclusively curatorial museum work.

"After all those years [at the Getty] I was very keen to get into pure museum work, because I love the object as object. I love just working with objects, and the Getty Research Institute was more about working with objects and artifacts as ideas," he said.

This past winter, a Los Angeles art dealer, Stuart Denenberg '64, mentioned the opening for the director position at the Bowdoin Museum to Salatino, and encouraged him to apply for the job.

Judd explained that Salatino—chosen from a pool of more than 75 candidates—was an exceptional candidate because of his experience and personal attributes.

"I think everyone who encountered Kevin felt like he brought the ideal qualities we were looking for," Judd said. "He's a highly regarded scholar and art historian, he's an incredibly creative and inventive curator who has done major exhibitions, and collaborated with institutions all over the world."

Stephen Perkinson, an associate professor of art history who represented the department on the selection committee, explained that Salatino's interest and expertise in prints and drawings "parallel the strengths of our collection."

"Not only are prints and drawings one of the major strengths of the Bowdoin collection, but [his previous work in that area of specialization] required him to deal with objects and issues from a really broad range of dates and cultures; there's really no other curatorial position that has such wide-ranging responsibilities," Perkinson wrote in an e-mail to the Orient.

At the helm of the museum, Salatino's job will not only involve oversight of museum programming, but also community and donor outreach.

"It's clear from the work he's done at LACMA...that he knows how to engage well with donors, that he knows how to engage well with the broader museum public, and he's somebody who it was obvious really does his homework," Judd said.

Salatino said he often had to raise money in his job at the LACMA.

"You have to go out there and hustle a lot, you really do have to go out and find the patrons who will support your acquisitions, and that's what I've done a tremendous amount of," Salatino said. "That's something you're never taught in graduate school, you're never taught in art history courses."

Salatino's familiarity with the liberal arts also proved to be a major selling point to the selection committee.

"He really can articulate the value of the arts in the liberal arts and the role of a museum on a college campus," Judd said.

Salatino said that he hopes to expand the collection "into areas the museum is not strong in."

"Since a director has to be responsible for all collections, it's also as important to me that areas that are not my specialty, like antiquities, are very strong at the museum," he said.

Eli Bossin '09 served as one of two student members of the selection committee. He was the only one present in the Spring committee meetings though, because the other student on the committee, Caitlin Beach '10, is currently studying abroad.

"I think he is really a very exciting choice to lead the museum," Bossin said. "I think he brings a lot of intelligence, energy, and enthusiasm," he added.

Salatino, who plans to move to Maine sometime in July, said he is taking the transition from sunny southern California to New England in stride.

"I'm hoping that my Connecticut Yankee DNA will reassert itself and I'll develop that layer of protection against the cold," he said.