Connie Wolf, director of the Cantor Arts Center for nearly five years, announced Wednesday that she’s leaving her post, according to a statement released to the center’s staff and friends.
Talking to the San Francisco Chronicle, Wolf said she’d simply accomplished what she set out to do at Stanford. It’s not clear why she decided to leave and leave now, but it’s widely accepted Wolf took the museum from a campus treat to a regional powerhouse.
Stanford’s Dean of Humanities and Sciences, Richard Saller, has only high praise for Wolf. “I’ve appreciated her energy, intelligence, discernment,” Saller told KQED. “In many ways, she’s leaving Cantor a stronger museum than she found it.” He adds one of her main mandates was to more tightly integrate the museum with the campus, and Saller says she succeeded, noting “There are many more students in the museum doing internships and taking classes.”
Wolf is credited with increasing the free museum’s annual attendance by 60 percent, and improving both the museum’s collection and standing in the art world. Under her leadership, the Cantor acquired works from artists such as Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol and Richard Diebenkorn, and exhibited big name photographers like Lee Friedlander and Robert Frank.
Before coming to Stanford in 2012, Wolf was the director and CEO of San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM). After taking the position in 1999, Wolf would go on to raise $110 million for the CJM, which was used to build a 63,000-square foot-facility in the city’s downtown — before then, the CJM was located in a 2,500-sq. ft building — and create a $25 million endowment.