October 22, 2018
I am writing to inform the University of Oregon community about the upcoming retirement of Jill Hartz, the executive director of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Jill has served with distinction at the helm of our renowned art museum for a decade and I am sorry to see her go.
During her tenure, Jill has transformed the JSMA into one of the finest teaching museums in our nation. She also set it on a path toward financial stability, cultural significance, and educational relevance to the University of Oregon. Last year, more than 9,000 university students used the JSMA, its collections, and exhibitions as part of their curriculum.
At its core, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a teaching museum. Under Jill’s leadership, UO students are given the opportunity to work in all areas of the museum field from research to curatorial to education, solidifying the importance and impact that an accredited art museum has on our student community.
Since taking the helm in 2008, Jill has significantly increased the museum’s permanent collection of American, Asian, European, Latin American, and contemporary art. Thanks to an anonymous $2.25 million gift that was named for Jill, the museum will be able to establish new exhibitions, acquisitions, and publications of art that includes student and faculty research.
In addition, she launched the successful Masterworks on Loan program, which brings works by world-renowned artists—from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Pablo Picasso to last year’s showing of Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac Heads/Circle of Animals.
Before joining the JSMA, she was the director of the then-University of Virginia Art Museum (now known as the Fralin Museum of Art) for a decade and also worked at Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art in various capacities for 10 years. Throughout her career, Jill has devoted a substantial amount of volunteer time to advance the professionalism, role, and visibility of academic museums, including having served on the board of the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries for more than 10 years. In two of her terms, she was board president.
As a board member, she drafted the first Professional Practices for Academic Museums and Galleries, which now serves as the accreditation standard for the field, and reorganized AAMG’s annual conference into a stand-alone, three-day event with an attendance of more than 350 academic museums professionals. She has served for more than 20 years as an active peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums’ Museum Assessment Program and Accreditation and is an AAM accreditation commissioner.
My office, in collaboration with the JSMA Leadership Council, faculty, and museum staff will initiate a national search this fall for Jill’s successor. The nine-person committee will be chaired by Dr. Paul Peppis, professor of English and director of the Oregon Humanities Center, who also serves on the JSMA Council. Leadership Council President Randall Stender and chief curator Anne Rose Kitagawa, who serves as curator of Asian art and as director of academic programs, will also be members of the committee. In the meantime, Jill will stay in her role through the end of summer 2019 as the search moves forward.
Our university is indebted to Jill for her commitment and service to the museum and our community.