POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — The Alumnae/i Association of Vassar College (AAVC) has chosen Katharine Lee Reid, a 1963 Vassar graduate, and the recently retired director of the Cleveland Museum of Art, for its fifth annual Distinguished Achievement Award. In conjunction with her honor, Reid will discuss "Life in a Museum: A Great Adventure" at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 9, in Room 203 of Taylor Hall. This event is free and open to the public.
Among her many accomplishments, Reid has been credited with changing the way Cleveland residents connect with their major museum. A hallmark has been "Convening the Community," an initiative to better inform Cleveland's diverse population about the museum's education and outreach programs, and to encourage greater use of the museum and its permanent collection. The initiative successfully recruited advisory council representatives, and gained extensive input, from a broad cross-section of the city.
Reid also worked closely with local officials to shape a multiyear renovation and expansion program of the Cleveland Museum of Arts (CMA), due to be the largest cultural project in Cleveland's history. Renowned architect Raphael Viñoly's designs will transform the museum with new exhibition spaces, and provide for more of the CMA's permanent art collection to be on view.
Earlier, during her nine years directing the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Reid broadened the museum's appeal and reached beyond its walls with programs like "Museums on the Boulevard," coordinating activities among several large cultural institutions in Richmond's Fan District.
During her recently completed tenure on the Board of Trustees of the American Association of Museum Directors, Reid served as president from 2000–2001. She has also served twice on the board of the American Association of Museums, and is a former member of its Accreditation Commission. Reid is currently on the boards of the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The National Conference for Community and Justice, and the American Federation of the Arts.
After graduating magna cum laude from Vassar College, Reid received a Fulbright Scholarship to study art history at the Sorbonne and Institut d'Art et Archaeologie in Paris. Reid went on to complete a master's degree in art history from Harvard University, and was later chosen to be a Ford Foundation curatorial intern at the Toledo Museum of Art. Reid has maintained close ties to Vassar, currently chairing the Visiting Committee for the college's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.
The AAVC Award for Distinguished Achievement is given to a Vassar College alumna or alumnus who has achieved the highest level of her or his field of endeavor. While demonstrating exceptional qualities of talent, application, creativity, and skill within a certain career, whether it be in the professions, the arts, or public affairs, this individual must at the same time exemplify the ideals of a liberal arts education and have used her or his position of visibility, power, or leadership to better the human community and to serve the wider goals of society.
For more information, please call Patricia Lichtenberg, AAVC executive director, at (845) 437-5439. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.