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K-State Today

May 31, 2011



New Beach Museum director selected following national search

By Cheryl May

Beach Museum

Linda Duke, an experienced leader with a focus on bringing people into museums for discussions, performances, and other interaction, has been named director of the Beach Museum of Art. She succeeds Lorne Render, who is retiring after 12 years at K-State. Duke’s appointment is effective July 1. 

"Kansas State University is fortunate to have Linda Duke join the K-State family and serve as director of the Beach Museum," said Jackie Hartman, director of community relations and assistant to the president. "Linda's accomplishments in the arts will enable us to build on the solid foundation built by Lorne Render and the museum staff. Linda has a wealth of experience in engagement and will help us reach a myriad of audiences in a time when outreach is essential."

Most recently, Duke has served as director of audience engagement for the Indianapolis Museum of Art, a post she's held since March 2003, when she started as director of education. During her time at the Indianapolis Museum of Art Duke helped conceive and plan new programming for the expanded museum facility in 2005, followed by the Tobias Theater in 2008 and 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park in 2010. Previous appointments have been with the University of California, Los Angeles Hammer Museum and the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She also was an assistant professor in the School of Art and Design at Illinois.

"I am overjoyed at the opportunity I now have to serve as director of the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University," Duke said. "I look forward to enhancing the strong foundation built and stewarded by so many devoted Friends, docents and staff members and, especially, by retiring director Lorne E. Render."

"During my museum career, I have enjoyed opportunities to curate exhibitions, commission works of visual and performing art, design programs, and work closely with community groups," Duke said. “I am tremendously excited about working with the staff of the Beach Museum, faculty members and students at K-State, and the communities of the region and state.”

Throughout her career Duke has been the principal investigator in substantial projects funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute for Museum and Library Services and others. She was called to participate in two recent White House meetings to discuss accessibility, museums and the arts. She has been invited to speak, run trainings and organize conferences in this country, Spain and the Canary Islands.

At the Hammer Museum she worked on programs that brought international performers for courtyard concert series and partnered with grass-roots groups on projects such a Remembering the Riots, a community reflection on the 10-year anniversary of the unrest that followed the acquittal of police officers accused of brutalizing Rodney King. During this period Duke also became involved with Awake, a multi-year project to look at the influence of Buddhist psychology on art of the West, especially contemporary art. She developed and co-curated a project for Awake, From the Verandah, which took place at the Fowler Museum at UCLA in fall 2003. This installation, with gallery performances and other programs, experimented with the boundary between information and experience.

Duke has two degrees in the history of art from the University of Illinois, where she also studied studio art. Her M.A. degree focused on Asian art history. She taught Western and Introduction to Asian Art History classes at Parkland College, Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Illinois before she was recruited to work on Sacred Mountains in Chinese Art, a large exhibition curated by her graduate adviser and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Duke served as project director for three years. That exhibition, accompanied by a scholarly catalogue, opened at Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois in 1990, then traveled to The Metropolitan Museum of Art early in 1991.

Duke is the parent of three young adult children, Esther, Tristan and Shane Duke.

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