Ellen Owens appointed director of the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University



Ellen Owens (Photo courtesy of Niagara University)

Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:10 PM

Artist, educator and arts administrator, Ellen Owens has been appointed director of the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University.

A press release said: “In her new role, which begins November 1, she will provide dynamic leadership for the museum, which has a permanent collection comprising more than 5,000 pieces of predominantly modern and contemporary art.”

Reverend James J. Maher, CM, President of Niagara University, said, “Ellen Owens is a talented, innovative and collaborative leader with a great passion for the arts and an unwavering commitment to the educational mission of museums. These qualities will serve her well as she develops programs and initiatives to strengthen the presence and impact of the Castellani Art Museum as a dynamic resource for the visual arts on campus, as well as for the region as a whole. western New York.

Throughout his career, in positions such as Director of Education, Executive Director, Curator and Board Member, Owens has created meaningful experiences for visitors, students and staff. For the past seven years, she has provided strategic advice on the executive team of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, the largest anthropology museum in the United States. This team recently completed an $ 80 million institutional transformation project to reinvent 10,000 square feet of galleries and public spaces, rebrand through a massive marketing campaign and unveil new programming.

During his tenure, Owens helped raise over $ 4.5 million for his department through grants, sponsorships and other fundraising initiatives; new collaborations and partnerships have been established; and program participation increased significantly. Owens and his team have launched “Unpacking the Past,” a multi-phased education program that serves more than 6,000 public college students each year. She also led the groundbreaking “Global Guides” program, which hires local immigrants and refugees to lead tours of galleries that relate personal stories to the history of their home countries.

Owens has been a coordinator and lecturer in the Masters in Museum Education program at the University of the Arts, and has held several positions at institutions focused on art, history and science in and around the region of Philadelphia, including executive director of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a folk art gallery, and a museum; and director of education at the American Philosophical Society Museum, with galleries focusing on history, art, and science. She began her career at the Creative Oasis Arts Studio as deputy gallery director and coordinator and instructor of its art camps.

An energetic advocate and volunteer for the arts, Owens has held numerous nonprofit board positions with the Print Center, the Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia, the Arts and Business Council of Philadelphia, and Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of notable leadership programs such as the Getty Leadership Institute and the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute at Bryn Mawr College.

“The Castellani family and I welcome and look forward to Ellen joining the museum team and the NU family,” said Carla Castellani, daughter of museum founders Armand and Eleanor Castellani. “His keen sense of museums and his experience in the field of education will be a tremendous asset. She is dedicated to building on the past, supporting the museum’s mission and developing a stronger future in service to the community and the region.

Owens said: “As I became more familiar with the Castellani Art Museum, I was wowed by its origin story of Armand Castellani’s successful business ventures and his passion for modern art. and contemporary. The Castellani’s commitment to diverse audiences through its folk arts and education programs, as well as its integration of learning projects for Niagara students, aligns directly with my own values ​​and professional experiences. I am delighted to take the helm, as I think the museum is an incredible resource for the region.

A frequent speaker at professional conferences and a published author, Owens holds a Master of Arts in Museum Education from the University of the Arts, and a Bachelor of Science in Arts Education and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of the Arts. Pennsylvania State University, State College.



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