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Baas Resigns from Berkeley Art Museum

by Jacqueline Frost, Public Affairs
posted November 4, 1998

Saying she wants to step aside to allow someone with "fresh energy and skills" to usher the museum through a major expansion and retrofit, Jacquelynn Baas has resigned as director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, a position she has held for the past 10 years.

"The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is at a pivotal moment in developing its new facility," said Baas, who will leave in July. "It is time for someone new who can bring fresh energy and skills that will be crucial to seeing this exciting project through to completion."

Work on the project, which will add much-needed space to expand the museum's collections and programs, will begin next year. The expansion will take between four and seven years to complete.

Baas, who has pledged to "continue supporting the museum as a private citizen," is credited with strengthening its content as well as its bottom line.

She balanced the museum's budget and helped to bring in a number of major grants, including a five-year $1.5 million grant from the Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Fund in 1992, a $500,000 four-year grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, and numerous federal and foundation grants.

Baas also successfully increased the endowment for the museum and archive from $1 million to $20 million.

The museum was also renamed under her direction with an unusual $5 million "naming gift" in 1995 at the museum's 25th anniversary.

During her tenure, major gifts to the collection include two paintings by Gauguin, a painting by Paula Modersohn-Becker, and a classic Jackson Pollock drip painting, among others.

Under Baas' leadership, the museum presented important exhibitions, including several that she herself organized -- "The Independent Group: Postwar Britain and the Aesthetics of Plenty in 1990;" and "Transformation: The Art of Joan Brown," on view in Berkeley and at the Oakland Museum of California through Jan. 17.


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