The Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University has selected art historian and arts administrator Gaëtane Verna as its next executive director. Verna will come to Wex in November from Toronto’s The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, where she has been director and artistic director since 2012.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gaëtane Verna to Ohio State and the Wexner Center for the Arts,” said Ohio State Executive Vice President and Provost Melissa L. Gilliam. “With deep experience in nurturing emerging and established artists, she strongly believes in the role of contemporary art as a channel to explore important issues and engage communities. As she joins us in Columbus, she will be strengthened by our talented and dedicated Wex staff and our students, faculty, staff and community who engage with Wex.

Prior to her time at The Power Plant, Verna was executive director and chief curator of the Musée d’art de Joliette, one of Quebec’s largest art museums, from 2006 to 2012. Previously, Verna served from 1999 to 2006 as curator of the Foreman Art Gallery at Bishop University, Sherbrooke, while teaching in the art history departments of Bishop University and Université du Québec à Montréal.

Since 1998, Verna has curated and organized exhibitions by emerging, mid-career and established Canadian and international artists including Terry Adkins, John Akomfrah, Vasco Araújo, Miriam Cahn, Alfredo Jaar, Luis Jacob, Kimsooja, Yam Lau, Oswaldo Macia, Mario. Pfeifer, Javier Téllez, Denyse Thomasos, Bill Viola, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES, Zineb Sedira and Franz Erhard Walther, among many others. Verna has also edited and contributed essays to numerous books and catalogs.

Verna currently serves on the board of directors of the Canada Council for the Arts, TV5 Québec Canada, the Holt/Smithson Foundation and the Sobey Art Foundation. She is past president of the board of directors of the Toronto Arts Council and serves on the advisory committees of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Global African Arts Department and the Diaspora and Mosaic Institute.

In 2017, she was appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government to highlight and recognize her significant contribution to the advancement of the arts in France and worldwide the world.

“Gaëtane comes to us from another premier contemporary institution, not a collector,” said Wexner Center Foundation Board President Bill Lambert. “She brings significant experience to the center, based on presenting multiple disciplines, providing a platform for underrepresented as well as established artists, and maintaining a dialogue with the community it serves.”

According to Executive Committee Chair Abigail Wexner, “Gaëtane has the exact combination of skills and qualities we were hoping to find in our search for the next executive director. She is an engaging, curious and perceptive leader committed to connecting audiences with the art of our time. We are very happy to welcome him to the US in this role.”

“The Wexner Center for the Arts is one of the leading contemporary art institutions in the United States and the world,” said Verna. “It is a shining beacon for artists and all the communities it welcomes and serves. Through bold inquiry and practice, Wex embraces its multidisciplinary mission of innovation, education and meaningful engagement and enables us to examine the most pressing and pressing issues of our time. I am honored and excited to join the Wex staff and board in building on its glorious past and shaping its bright future together.”

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