Originally created 04/02/02

Museum director resigns



After a decade as the director of the Morris Museum of Art, Louise Keith Claussen is stepping down.

William S. Morris III, the chairman of the Morris Museum board of trustees, announced Ms. Claussen's departure Monday.

"We are proud of what the Morris Museum of Art has become under Keith Claussen's direction," Mr. Morris said. "Her leadership, her extensive knowledge of our community and her dedication to the museum's mission put us far ahead of what one might expect in starting a cultural institution from scratch. Our family, the museum trustees and board of directors are most grateful for her dedication and hard work."

Ms. Claussen has held the position since March 1992 and oversaw the grand opening of the museum devoted to Southern art in September 1992. She requested that a search be made for an experienced museum professional to lead the institution into its second decade.

"After 10 years, this seemed like a perfect time to raise the bar, to take the next step forward," Ms. Claussen said.

Mr. Morris announced that Kevin Grogan, a museum professional with more than 30 years' experience, has been named the new director of the museum. His appointment is effective May 1.

"I think the Morris is poised to have a real national impact," Mr. Grogan said. "The whole idea of dealing with art and with culture at the point of origin, as the Morris does, is something I find intensely fascinating. So having the opportunity to work with the Morris and the things it represents is something I look forward to with great anticipation."

For the past three years, Mr. Grogan has served as the executive director and president of the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia in Virginia Beach. He began his career at the Phillips Collection in Washington in 1971. He also served as director of the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville, Tenn.; interim director at the Knoxville (Tenn.) Museum of Art; and a member of the faculty at Fisk University in Nashville.

"I'm very pleased that we have been able to get Kevin Grogan," Ms. Claussen said. "He is a friend and colleague that I've known since I got into the museum business. He has quite a track record and I think this will be really good for the museum."

Ms. Claussen will remain involved with the Morris Museum and its Center for Southern Art Studies. She has been named the director of fine arts publications for Morris Communications Co., and will be involved in developing cultural publications and maintaining ties to the museum's publishing program.

"That's really what my background is," Ms. Claussen said. "So I'm looking forward to writing and editing again."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.