New Executive Directors for the Quick Center and Bellarmine Museum
The University announced two new appointments that will bolster Fairfield’s position as the cultural hub of Fairfield County this week: Effective January 13, 2015, Peter Van Heerden (right) will be the new executive director of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, joined on February 2, 2015, by Linda Wolk-Simon, the new director and chief curator of the Bellarmine Museum of Art.
Both Linda and Peter come to Fairfield with a wealth of experience in artistic excellence and community engagement that is sure to provide our arts, community engagement and advancement efforts with renewed energy, creativity and solid direction.
Please help us welcome both of these individuals to Fairfield and lend them your support as they take on these important roles.
Peter Van Heerden
Peter, a Westport resident, brings with him a strong background at both academic and large-scale nonprofit organizations. He comes to the Quick Center from The Westport Arts Center, where, for the past three years, he was responsible for the management of overall strategic vision, direction and fiscal health of more than 200 programs in visual arts, film, education, jazz and chamber music.
Prior to that post, he was senior faculty member in performance studies for 15 years at City Varsity School of Media and Creative Arts in Cape Town, South Africa. From 2001 to 2003, he served as managing director and co-founder of School Environment and Education and Development (S.E.E.D.), which transforms schools and learning environments through permaculture and sustainable practice.
While at the Westport Arts Center, Peter oversaw a resounding growth in patronage and cultivation through community partnerships and the development of innovative programming in the visual and performing arts. He helped structure a strong exhibition program, featuring internationally known artists, such as Chuck Close and Christo and Jeanne Claude, and oversaw outreach programs in therapeutic arts, working with cancer patients at Yale-New Haven’s Smilow Cancer Hospital and veterans at Homes for the Brave in Bridgeport. The center also extended arts-based partnerships in urban schools in Bridgeport and Norwalk.
A native of South Africa, Peter holds a bachelor’s degree in drama and classical civilization from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, and a master’s degree in theatre and performance, cum laude, from the University of Cape Town.
Linda comes to Fairfield after 25 years at the gold standard of museums, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where, from 1986 to 2011 she served in many posts, including curator, Department of Drawings and Prints. She was the assistant curator of the Robert Lehman Collection for more than a decade, overseeing this stunning and diverse collection of paintings, sculpture, textiles, glass and other materials. While at The Met, she was instrumental in planning a highly attended Raphael exhibition and the well-received Art and Love in Renaissance Italy.
Linda, a Scarsdale, N.Y., resident, has written extensively in her field, specializing in European art of the 15th-19th century with a concentration on the Italian Renaissance. She is a highly sought-after expert lecturer, having spoken at conferences across Europe and the United States. She was also an associate and reviews editor at the quarterly scholarly journal Master Drawings for several years. Most recently, she spent two years as the Charles W. Engelhard Curator and Department Head at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.
In addition to her curatorial expertise, Linda has a strong teaching background, having led numerous sessions in curatorial studies through a joint program of The Met and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She has taught seminars on Italian Old Master Drawings for undergraduate and graduate courses at both The Met and the Morgan Library.
Linda holds a PhD in history of art and a BA, summa cum laude, both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.