Denise Drury Homewood, an arts administrator who came to Western Carolina University as curatorial specialist for the Fine Art Museum in 2010, has been appointed the museum’s executive director. In her new role, Drury Homewood is responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership for the museum as WCU’s College of Fine and Performing Arts, where the facility is housed administratively, moves through a period of growth and transition, said the college’s dean, George H. Brown.
Drury Homewood had served several stints as FAM interim director. Prior to coming to WCU, she was executive director of 621 Gallery in Tallahassee, Florida, where she managed a nonprofit gallery and 10-acre sculpture park. In her time at WCU, she has fostered new connections and collaborations throughout the region and state, Brown said. She has served as art section chair of the North Carolina Museums Council, on the boards of the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design and Asheville-Area Arts Council, and as a grant reviewer and consultant for the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and North Carolina Arts Council.
Under her leadership, WCU’s FAM launched a variety of new programs focused on community engagement ranging from children’s art education programs at the Jackson County Farmers Market to a nationally recognized exhibition of the North Carolina’s glass artists. She was recently named to the Curators Committee of the American Alliance of Museums, where she is charged with representing curators throughout the Southeast on the national stage.
Brown said he considers the recent appointment a significant opportunity to strengthen the strategic work of the college. “Denise brings a wealth of experience to this position, as well as considerable ties to artists and arts organizations across the state,” he said. “As our college works to advance the Western North Carolina region artistically and economically through creative place-making, I see Denise’s proactive leadership, willingness to collaborate and interest in leveraging the power of the arts as a transformational catalyst as strong assets for the college and region.”
Drury Homewood said she considers it a privilege to lead the museum into its 10th anniversary year. “I look forward to building a museum environment that celebrates creativity, encourages curiosity and promotes community engagement,” she said. “In this next decade, you’ll see a shift in our programming that reflects a move toward a more engaging and relevant experience for visitors to the Fine Art Museum.