After a three-year career as director of the art museum, Kevin Salatino unexpectedly announced his plans to leave the College and become the director of art collections at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif. He will maintain his post at Bowdoin through the summer.
Salatino has worked as curator at both the Getty Research Institution and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and his new post at The Huntington makes him the first person to complete the trifecta of working at the city's three largest visual art institutions.
The Huntington Art Collections are lauded for their expansive array of 17th and 18th century European artwork.
In a campus-wide email on February 9, President Barry Mills congratulated Salatino:
"This is a terrific opportunity for Kevin, who has done much to advance the mission and raise the visibility of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art since he arrived."
Hired in 2009 to succeed Katy Kline, who had held the position for 10 years, Salatino arrived at Bowdoin two years after the art museum's $20 million renovation.
In an email to the Orient, Salatino wrote that he was drawn to Bowdoin because of its "terrific reputation, the beauty of its Museum building...the high regard in which the arts are held at the College, and the College's support for and commitment to the arts and the Museum."
Mills commended Salatino's collaboration with other museums and collections during his time at the College, which has strengthened national awareness of the art museum's mission. Linda Docherty, associate professor of art history, agreed that Salatino's artistic eye has been an asset to the College.
"He really brought a lot of interesting exhibits to the College. How he chose to hang them were always thought provoking," she said. "Kevin has a wonderful broad appreciation of art...he really has a deep understanding of all styles. I think that is a great quality, and why throughout the museum there is a careful excellence."
Salatino said that his favorite show during his time at Bowdoin was "Edward Hopper's Maine," and rightfully so—the exhibition had record breaking attendance and was featured in The Washington Post, the Houston Chronicle, Yahoo News, MSNBC, and more.
"I've learned what a joy it is to work in a place filled with smart, interesting, enthusiastic and passionate people—Bowdoin's students, staff, and faculty," he said.
Nonetheless, Saltino is full of anticipation to do research at one of the best collections in the world.
"I'm looking forward to working in what is not only one of the great collections of art in the country...but what is also a major international research center," he wrote. "The Huntington takes the role of research very seriously, and holds, as central to its mission, scholarship combined with strong public outreach."
Currently Salatino is unaware of the specifics to appoint his successor, but a search committee will be formed.