Ryan Hardesty chosen as interim executive director of Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU

Closeup of Ryan Hardesty
Ryan Hardesty

PULLMAN, Wash. – The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Washington State University is pleased to announce Ryan Hardesty as interim executive director. Hardesty is well-known in the museum community for his long-standing work with the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) in Spokane, as well as curating public art projects for The Washington State Arts Commission and previous work on the East Coast in museums such as the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

Hardesty joined Washington State University’s Museum of Art curatorial team in 2014 as curator of art and exhibitions. He has curated a range of exhibition projects for WSU including Jim Dine: A Life in Printmaking; Marie Watt: Companion Species (Underbelly); Jeffry Mitchell: Death of Buddha; Louise Bourgeois: Ode to Forgetting and Polly Apfelbaum: Frequently the Woods are Pink, both from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation.

Hardesty holds a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the University of Washington and a Master of Fine Art degree from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Hardesty was recently selected as one of thirteen national and international curators for the Traveling Seminar for Curators of Contemporary Prints. He resides in Pullman with his wife and daughter, maintaining an ongoing interest in wandering cities and wild places alike.

Patricia Watkinson, chair of the museum’s advisory council, said: “I certainly support the choice of Ryan Hardesty as interim director. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Ryan in Pullman and Spokane: he is highly professional, completely committed to art and artists, and a genuinely thoughtful person. He leads a dedicated team. The museum is in good hands.”

Hardesty brings a great deal of knowledge of the region, its history, and its artists to WSU, while also connecting them thematically and programmatically to the larger community, stating, “Exhibitions and collections act as places of engagement, learning, and renewal for communities involved in their cultural well-being. As a cultural worker who acknowledges his position of influence, I take seriously my role in creating welcoming and inclusive environments for first-hand experiences.” With 24 years’ experience as a museum professional, Ryan is the perfect fit to lead the museum into its next iteration.

“We are committed to fostering greater equity, inclusion, and diversity in all our work, recognizing museums must do more as true allies in places of education, learning and community-building,” said Hardesty. “Coupled with progressive programming, art and artists act as powerful agents of social change moving people to new understandings of diverse perspectives.”

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