The San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA) announced Monday that Susan Krane will step down as executive director on Jan. 31.
"The museum is entering into a new phase of its new strategic plan," says SJMA marketing and communications director Sherrill Ingalls. "It was a mutual decision between Susan and the board. And it seemed like the right time."
Krane joined the museum in 2008, as the country was spiraling into economic depression. "During a challenging time for arts institutions, her fiscal discipline helped keep the museum financially sound, while—even in lean times—enabling the museum to creatively expand its public programming, grow the permanent collection in both size and stature, and present ambitious exhibitions that reflect the diversity, intelligence, and excitement of the Silicon Valley community," Hildy Shandell, president of SJMA’s board of trustees, is quoted as saying in the official announcement of Krane's departure.
Under Krane’s leadership, SJMA co-organized nationally touring exhibitions including the first museum exhibition devoted to the work of Leo Villareal in 2010; Border Cantos: Richard Misrach | Guillermo Galindo in 2016; and Tabaimo: Her Room, also in 2016.
"It’s been an incredible eight-plus years at the museum, from the growth and great diversification of our exhibition program to amazing new creative partnerships and truly innovative initiatives with the community," Krane said in an email interview. "I am very eager for a change and look forward to the flexibility to pursue new endeavors in arts engagement, particularly projects that further civic participation, as well as to devote time to several research and writing projects."
Krane has curated several exhibitions herself while at the SJMA, including one Your Mind, This Moment, opening Feb. 17.
Susan Sayre Batton, deputy director of curatorial affairs, will serve as interim director while the board conducts a nationwide search for a new executive director. That said, a number of people at the museum and in the surrounding community suggest Batton might be a solid permanent choice.
"Susan has been a respected colleague and a strong advocate for the arts in San Jose," says Cathy Kimball, who heads the San Jose Institute for Contemporary Arts and used to work at SJMA. "Sayre Batton has been a great addition to the Museum's team. During the past year, we've become close colleagues and I feel confident that the museum is in good hands."