Bay Area native Veronica Roberts will take over as director of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University this summer, after working at the University of Texas at Austin since 2013.
Roberts will begin her new job leading the museum, which is free and open to the public, on July 5. She currently works as the curator of modern and contemporary art at the Blanton Museum of Art at UT Austin, according to a Stanford news release.
"I am thrilled to be returning to the Bay Area and to a museum I visited countless times with my grandmother, who volunteered for the Cantor," Roberts said in the release. "I look forward to sharing the work of many of the most exciting regional, national and international artists working today at the museum."
The Cantor Arts Center's prior head, Susan Dackerman, stepped down in 2020 amid allegations that the museum was a "toxic workplace." Maude Brezinski and Elizabeth Mitchell subsequently took over as interim co-directors of the Cantor.
In her current job at the Blanton, Roberts has been involved in curating nationally touring exhibitions, including "Nina Katchadourian: Curiouser," which also came to the Cantor in 2017. She came up with the idea for the first "outdoor sound art gallery," which is set to open on the Blanton's grounds next year, according to the release. During the pandemic, she helped create "Texas Talks Art," a series of weekly 30-minute virtual conversations between an artist and a curator.
Her work also included overseeing the reinstallation of the museum's modern and contemporary collection, where she focused on works by women and artists of color, as well as helping to create dedicated spaces for video art and new contemporary works, the release said.
"I am delighted that Veronica Roberts will join Stanford arts leadership as the new director of the Cantor," said Deborah Cullinan, the university's recently-hired vice president for the arts. "She brings a deep connection to her hometown Bay Area region and a solid reputation as a collaborative and generous leader."
In her new role, Roberts will run the museum as it continues to rebuild from the pandemic. This year, the museum will have three exhibits related to its Asian American Art Initiative, which highlights artists of Asian descent. The release highlights Roberts' interest in continuing the museum's diversity efforts.
"I firmly believe that institutions can thrive only if diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and kindness are modeled internally and communicated outwardly," she said.
With an undergraduate degree in art history from Williams College and a masters from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Roberts has previously held curatorial positions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.