Dr. H. Alexander Rich, who joined Florida Southern College in August 2014 as assistant professor of art history, has been named the Executive Director and Chief Curator for the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College. His appointment takes effect on June 1, 2019.
May 23, 2019
The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College has appointed Dr. H. Alexander Rich to be the Executive Director and Chief Curator for the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Dr. Rich joined Florida Southern in August 2014 as assistant professor of art history, heading the art history program and directing the galleries and exhibitions. In June 2017, he assumed the additional role of curator and director of galleries and exhibitions for the Polk Museum of Art, as part of an affiliation agreement between the two organizations.
“It’s a great honor to be given the opportunity to lead a distinguished community and academic art museum,” Dr. Rich said. “The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College has long been a core contributor to the life and culture of Lakeland and Central Florida. Since its affiliation with Florida Southern, the Museum has begun to make new and important contributions as an academic museum, promoting diverse areas of scholarship and broader community education and outreach, among other initiatives.”
Dr. Rich looks forward to “continuing to enhance the Museum's offerings and maintaining its integral relationship with the broader Lakeland community,” and building upon the strong legacy of excellence established by Claire Orologas, who has announced her retirement.
“Dr. Rich has been a transformative leader as he has helped to guide the affiliation between Florida Southern College and the Polk Museum of Art,” said Museum Board Chair Lynda Buck. “He has worked to strengthen the Museum’s vital role in the local arts community while expertly directing its added mission of becoming a superior academic museum, bringing in world-class exhibitions that benefit the public and students alike.”
Founded in 1966 as the Imperial Youth Museum and renamed the Polk Public Museum in 1969 to better reflect its emphasis on art, history, and science, Lakeland’s premiere not-for-profit art museum doubled its exhibition and classroom facilities with the purchase of a vacant Publix Super Market building in 1970. Together with the School Board of Polk County, staff members worked to establish and sustain a curriculum-based art education program. The institution received accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1983, and was renamed the Polk Museum of Art. Its current facility on Palmetto Street was formally dedicated in September 1988.
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