Alejandra PeÃ±a-GutiÃ©rrez, who has directed the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico since 2013, will be the next director of the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota.
PeÃ±a will begin her new role at WAM on November 29. His selection was announced Wednesday afternoon.
According to a press release from WAM, PeÃ±a is an internationally accomplished museum leader and arts professional. She has a background in architecture and art history, “as well as nearly three decades of experience as an innovative and collaborative leader, curator and educator in internationally renowned museums, cultural institutions and artistic professional organizations. “.
The Museo de Arte de Ponce is known for its extensive collection of European and Puerto Rican art. According to the press release, it has strengthened the Museo de Arte de Ponce financially, operationally and programmatically, even in the face of extraordinary challenges including a devastating hurricane and earthquake.
WAM Acting Director and Executive Vice President Emeritus and Provost, Karen Hanson, described PeÃ±a as “a dynamic and imaginative museum professional with decades of successful leadership experience in various cultural institutions.” She brings a strong international perspective to the Weisman, but her work in Mexico and Puerto Rico, particularly after Hurricane Maria, also shows that she will be intensely sensitive to the interests and needs of our diverse local communities and the many ways in which an art museum can serve both the campus and the general public.
PeÃ±a graduated in architecture as well as a master’s degree in art history from the Universidad Nacional AutÃ³noma de MÃ©xico, where she also taught. Before moving to Puerto Rico to run the Museo de Arte de Ponce, she was Deputy Director General of Artistic Heritage at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, an umbrella body of 18 museums.
PeÃ±a’s appointment is the culmination of a nationwide search to succeed Lyndel King, who retired in 2020 after serving as director for four decades. The search for his successor began in early 2020, before being briefly interrupted due to the pandemic.
WAM is currently closed for repairs.