DIA director search down to 4

Michael H. Hodges
Detroit News Fine Arts Writer

The search for a new director at the Detroit Institute of Arts has narrowed from eight to four candidates, board chairman Eugene A. Gargaro Jr. said Tuesday.

Gargaro declined to identify the final four, and would not say whether any internal candidates were on the short list.

He did confirm, however, that Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA executive director for collection strategies and information as well as head of the European Art Department, and Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Annmarie Erickson were both in the initial roster of eight.

“We had a round of interviews with the eight candidates,” Gargaro said, “and then a second round with the four finalists. I’m not going to get into all the nuances, but we’re making good progress.”

Gargaro said the 14-member search committee has invested nine months in the hunt for a replacement for Graham Beal, who retired June 30. They hope to announce the new director by mid-September.

Helping in the process has been Phillips Oppenheim, the New York executive search firm that works with many top museums, most recently handling the successful hunt for a new director at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Gargaro said that all the drama around the successful resolution of Detroit’s bankruptcy has actually worked to the search committee’s advantage.

“Detroit is an international story,” he said, “and the DIA is an international story. We’ve attracted a really great group of candidates.”