Gaetane Verna appointed new executive director of the Wexner Center for the Arts

The Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts has tapped art historian and arts administrator Gaten Verna as its next executive director. Verna is coming to Wakes in November from The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto, where she has been Director and Artistic Director since 2012.

“We are excited to welcome Gaten Verna to Ohio State and the Wexner Center for the Arts,” said Melissa L. Gilliam, Ohio State’s executive vice president and provost. “With deep experience in elevating emerging and established artists, she strongly believes in the role of contemporary art as a vehicle for exploring important issues and engaging communities. As she joins us in Columbus, she will be joined by our talented and dedicated Wax staff and our students, faculty, staff and Wex will be powered by the community that engages with it.

Prior to working at The Power Plant, Verna was the Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Musée d’Art de Joliette, one of Quebec’s largest art museums, from 2006 to 2012. Previously, Varna served as Foreman’s curator from 1999 to 2006. Also teaching in the art history departments of Bishop’s University, Art Gallery at Sherbrooke, Bishop’s University and Université du Québec à Montréal.

Since 1998, Verna has curated and organized exhibitions by emerging, mid-career and established Canadian and international artists, including Terry Adkins, John Akomfrah, Vasco Araujo, Miriam Kahn, Alfredo Jaar, Louis Jacob, Kimsuza, Yam Lau, Oswaldo Macia, mario Pfeifer, Javier Téllez, Denyse Thomasos, Bill Viola, YOUNG-HAE CHANG Heavy Industries, Zineb Sedira and Franz Erhard Walther, among many others. Verna has also edited and contributed essays to several books and catalogs.

Verna currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Canada Council for the Arts, TV5 Québec Canada, the Holt/Smithson Foundation and the Sobey Art Foundation. She is a past chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Arts Council and serves on the advisory committees of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Arts Department of Global Africa and Diaspora and the Mosaic Institute.

In 2017, he was appointed Chevalier de l’Orde des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government to spotlight and recognize his significant contribution to advancing the arts in France and around the world.

“Gaten comes to us from another major, non-collecting contemporary institution,” said Bill Lambert, chairman of the Wexner Center Foundation Board. “She brings strong relevant experience to the Center, drawing on multiple disciplines, providing a platform for underrepresented as well as established artists, and maintaining a dialogue with the community she serves.”

According to Executive Committee Chair Abigail Wexner, “Gaten has the exact combination of skills and qualities we hoped to find in our search for the next Executive Director. She is an engaging, curious and insightful leader, dedicated to connecting the public with the arts of our time. We are delighted to welcome her to America in this role.” We are very happy to have.

“The Wexner Center for the Arts is one of the leading contemporary art institutions in the United States and the world,” Verna said. “It is a shining light for artists and all the communities it welcomes and serves. Through bold inquiry and practice, Wex embraces its multidisciplinary mission of innovation, education and meaningful engagement, enabling us to examine the most important and urgent issues of our time. I am honored and excited to work with Wex and the staff of the Board to build on its glorious past and together shape its bright future.

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