THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART (LACMA), which is developing a new $650 million building, announced three appointments to its board of trustees—Colleen Bell, Melody Hobson, and Robbie Robinson.

Two of the new members, Hobson and Robinson, are formidable figures in Chicago’s finance and investment world. Bell, a media executive and former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary (2014-17), previously served on LACMA’s board from 2011-14.

Hobson is president of Chicago-based Ariel Investments and also serves as chair of the board of trustees of the Ariel Investment Trust and vice chair of the board of Starbucks Corporation. In addition, she is co-founder with her husband, legendary filmmaker George Lucas, of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which is being developed in Los Angeles.

“LACMA is deeply dedicated to scholarship, engagement, and education,” Hobson said when her appointment was announced June 17. “The museum’s ambitious building project encapsulates its thoughtful, democratic approach in bringing art to every person in the region, and I look forward to being a part of the museum’s transformation as it continues to anchor L.A.’s vibrant cultural landscape.”

“The museum’s ambitious building project encapsulates its thoughtful, democratic approach in bringing art to every person in the region, and I look forward to being a part of the museum’s transformation as it continues to anchor L.A.’s vibrant cultural landscape.” — Mellody Hobson

Robinson is a partner at BDT & Company. He established the Chicago-based merchant bank’s West Coast presence in Los Angeles and, since 2017, has served as a personal advisor to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

“I am pleased to join this group of civic leaders who are committed to supporting LACMA and Michael Govan’s broad vision of bringing a modern arts center to life through impactful investment and a deep connection with the communities it serves,” Robinson said in a statement.

LACMA board co-chairs Tony Ressler and Elaine Wynn said they were “thrilled” to have Bell, Hobson, and Robinson join the museum’s board. In a statement they said: “Their strength in leadership and varied philanthropic experience will be incredible assets to the board as we build the museum of the future.”

Michael Govan, LACMA’s CEO and director (who also is a member of the board at the Lucas Narrative Museum of Art) said in a statement: “The arrival of our new trustees comes at a pivotal time for the museum, as our building campaign and our community outreach gain momentum.”

The new board members are joining nearly 50 other trustees, including Wallis Annenberg, Ambassador Nicole Avant, Suzanne Deal Booth, Eva Chow, Troy Carter, Thelma Golden, Peter Norton, Carole Bayer Sager, Ryan Seacrest, Steve Tisch, and Dasha Zhukova.

IT’S A DYNAMIC TIME at LACMA. The new building designed for the museum’s permanent collection is expected to be completed in 2023.

LACMA recently added Naima Keith to its leadership staff. The former deputy director and chief curator at the California African American Museum officially joined LACMA in April. She serves as vice president of Education and Public Programs.

The museum is currently showing “Isaac Julien: Playtime.” The multichannel installation is the British artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien‘s first major presentation in Los Angeles. The museum is also presenting “Life Model: Charles White and His Students” at the original campus of the Otis Art Institute, where artist Charles White was the first black faculty member. The exhibition was developed to accompany “Charles White: A Retrospective.”

Next month, “Black and Blue: The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness,” a 40-part installation by Zak Ové will be on view in the Cantor Sculpture Garden. “Betye Saar: Call and Response,” which focuses on Los Angeles-based Betye Saar‘s sketchbooks, opens in September. Later in the fall, the first-ever career retrospective of Julie Mehretu debuts at LACMA. CT

 

TOP IMAGE: Rendering of new LACMA building as seen from the sidewalk on Wilshire Boulevard. | via Building LACMA

 

FIND MORE about LACMA’s redesign and approval process and local press opinions about the new building

 

In a 2014 TED Talk, Mellody Hobson makes the case for talking about race in the workplace and diversity in hiring. | Video by TED Talks

Hobson talks about her influences and various professional roles in a more recent conversation at Upfront Summit 2019

 


Named among Crain’s 40 Under 40, Robbie Robinson discusses the mottos that drive his approach to work and life (2014). | Video by Crain’s Chicago Business

 

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