The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday January 29th

Ackland appoints new director

The Ackland Art Museum now has a leader to oversee the expansion that will almost double the museum's size.

Emily Kass, who served as the executive director of the Tampa Museum of Art from 1996 to 2005, will become the director of the Ackland beginning Oct. 16.

Kass has a background in fundraising - she led a campaign that raised $62 million while at the Tampa Museum of Art. Her experience will be utilized as the Ackland looks to raise $25 million in private funding for its expansion.

"That was one of the big draws in me coming," Kass said.

The Ackland holds 15,000 pieces of art that Kass wants to make available for public viewing.

"We've got to make that expansion happen," she said. "I know my role is to make sure it gets done."

However, Kass isn't just looking to display what the Ackland has - she wants to expand its collection as well.

"It's safe to say that we always want to keep adding to the collection," she said.

And University officials said they agree with that kind of mentality.

"Her background is in contemporary art, and that is an area where the Ackland would like to strengthen its collection," said Carol Tresolini, associate provost for academic initiatives.

Kass also will be called upon to strengthen the relationship between the community -which includes the University -and the museum.

She said she welcomes the challenge and foresees new opportunities, saying that the University community differs from museum visitors in Tampa, Fla.

"At our museum in Tampa, it was a city museum and didn't have the opportunities or audience," Kass said. "UNC has this whole host of interdisciplinary events."

While many classes require students to visit the Ackland, bringing more students to the museum is also a priority for Kass.

"I'm very excited about the student audience and getting students involved in the museum in many different ways," she said.

Tresolini noted Kass' extensive public-programming experience as a reason for offering her the director's position out of a pool of 49 applicants.

Most recently Kass served as a consultant for the Sarasota Museum of Art, a division of the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla.

She also held the post of executive director at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in Indiana from 1985 to 1996 and was assistant director and acting director of the University of New Mexico Art Museum in Albuquerque from 1981 to 1984.

While Kass has a great deal of work ahead of her, she said she's ready to begin her new post.

"I think as an incoming director it's a great situation."

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