Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
The Southern Ohio Museum has announced the appointments of Mark Chepp as executive director, and Charlotte Gordon as artistic director beginning July 1. The husband-and-wife team was unanimously appointed by the The Museum’s Board of Trustees last week.
“We are absolutely confident that they have the skills, personality, experience and passion to take the Museum to new heights of programming and policy in the 21st century, and we are eager to welcome them into our community,” said Asa Jewett, President of the Museum Board.
A native of Milwaukee, Chepp earned his bachelor’s degree in Art at the University of Wisconsin-Steven’s Point and then a pair of master’s degrees — one in Art and another in Art History — from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Before moving to Springfield, Ohio, in 1991, he had served as curator of visual resources in the UW-M art history department, director of the art history gallery there, and ultimately curator of exhibitions and collections at the UW-M Art Museum.
During his 15-year tenure as Executive Director of Ohio’s Springfield Museum of Art he built an impressive permanent collection, curated scores of outstanding exhibitions and secured national accreditation, a distinction awarded to only 6 percent of America’s museums.
Upon his retirement a grateful institution honored him with the title of Director Emeritus. He has since been directing his energies to painting and to teaching at the college level. He has been a leader in Springfield’s cultural community, spearheadeding efforts to restore the Hartman Rock Garden, a 1930s folk art environment, and the Westcott House, a Frank Lloyd Wright residence in Springfield. He will retain his role as an Accreditation Peer Reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums.
Gordon hails from New Orleans. She earned a bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Newcomb College of Art at Tulane University, where she majored in ceramics, a specialty which took her the following year to North Carolina’s prestigious Penland School of Crafts. She has served as the Springfield Museum of Art’s sole curator for the last six years, a position that went far beyond the curatorial domain of selecting works for exhibitions to include as well the tasks of registrar, preparator and art transporter.
This spring she was awarded a master’s degree in Museum Studies from Southern University of New Orleans. She has frequently served as a guest curator or juror for numerous arts organizations throughout Ohio and is presently organizing a major touring exhibition of African art from the collection of Southern University of New Orleans. Gordon is a member of the Ohio Museum Association’s Board of Trustees.
Chepp and Gordon called this a dream for them to work together.
“To discover that opportunity in a museum we have respected and admired for so many years is just amazing. We can’t wait to become part of it and everything southern Ohio has to offer,” they said.
Both Chepp and Gordon are practicing artists. He is a painter whose recent self-portraits have been exhibited throughout Ohio, including a featured role in the Southern Ohio Museum’s A Face in the Crowd exhibition last fall. He is represented by Keny Galleries in Columbus. Gordon is a respected ceramic artist whose work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions throughout the state. She is represented by the Sherrie Gallerie in Columbus’ Short North District.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTWriter.