Palm Springs Art Museum names Elizabeth Armstrong as new director

Palm Springs Art Museum names Elizabeth Armstrong as new director

A familiar face in the Southern California museum world will soon be returning to the area.

Elizabeth Armstrong has been named the new executive director of the Palm Springs Art Museum, leaders announced on Friday. Armstrong, who will begin her new job in January, comes from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which she joined in 2008 and where she held the title of founding curator of contemporary art.

Before that, Armstrong was the acting director and chief curator at the Orange County Museum of Art, where she initiated the California Biennial, and organized such popular shows as "Birth of the Cool: California Art."

She was also a senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and put in 14 years as a curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

In Palm Springs, Armstrong will succeed Steven Nash, who has headed the museum since 2007 and who announced his retirement in April. Nash led the museum through some major expansions, including the recent opening of the new Architecture and Design Center, in downtown Palm Springs.

Armstrong said in a prepared statement: "I’m thrilled to return to California to take the helm of Palm Springs Art Museum and to have the opportunity to explore new ways to integrate the museum into the cultural life of this vibrant community."

The Palm Springs Art Museum, which was founded in 1938, has locations in downtown Palm Springs and in Palm Desert.

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