BALTIMORE, MD - The American Visionary Art Museum - a Congressionally-designated national museum and education center dedicated to showcasing intuitive, self-taught artistry and thought – will welcome only its second director in its 30+-year history with the appointment of Jenenne Whitfield by the Board of Directors to succeed Founder, Director and Primary Curator Rebecca Alban Hoffberger. Ms. Whitfield is currently the President & CEO of The Heidelberg Project and has worked with the Detroit-based outdoor artistic organization for 28 years. Ms. Whitfield will formally take-up her new role with AVAM in September, 2022.
“We are so proud and delighted to have attracted as our new director such a devoted and credentialed artistic leader as Jenenne Whitfield who will now lead the American Visionary Art Museum forward and build on the indelible legacy of Founding Director Rebecca Hoffberger.”
–Christopher Goelet, AVAM Board Chair
“Jenenne’s long tenure with The Heidelberg Project, one of our nation’s most respected mission-driven artistic endeavors, is a testament to her commitment to enliven local communities and give voice to the concerns of our day through original and inspired artistic expression, also core to AVAM’s mission.”
“I am beyond thrilled to become part of the AVAM family,” said Jenenne Whitfield. “What excites me most is that AVAM’s philosophy and visual aesthetics are beautifully aligned with what it means to be human and what we should strive for as a human race. Rebecca has done an extraordinary job of embracing, advancing and providing a place for the intuitive creative spirit to flourish and grow. I look forward to building upon her strong foundation by increasing AVAM’s visibility, building greater alliances and taking AVAM to its next level.”
Jenenne Whitfield became president of The Heidelberg Project in 2017. Under her direction, The Heidelberg Project (founded by Tyree Guyton) has risen to international prominence and is currently recognized as one of the most influential art environments in the world. Her leadership and commitment have enabled the project to extend its reach by participating in joint projects with museums, universities and other organizations throughout the world. Together, Whitfield and Guyton coined and trademarked the idiom, Heidelberg-ology, defined as the study of discarded materials incorporated into the fabric and structure of an urban community and the effects on that community. Under Whitfield’s leadership, the work of the HP spans six continents and has collected over 27 awards, locally, nationally and internationally.
In addition to her role as executive director of The Heidelberg Project, Whitfield lectures regularly, has taught courses at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan on art as a social practice, and serves as a mentor to the next generation of art thinkers and activists. She is also co-founder of a new art collective in Detroit called United Artists of Detroit (UAD).
Rebecca Alban Hoffberger stated: “From idea to sustained fruition, the American Visionary Art Museum has occupied more than half my life. Without reservation, and with unanimous AVAM Board and staff accord, I have the utmost peace and joy in our rightful selection of Jenenne Whitfield as my successor.”
“Simply put, Jenenne has had her own stellar lifetime of preparation to lead AVAM. She cherishes and ‘gets’ all the key elements that have made AVAM such a healing and magic, beloved destination.”
–Rebecca Alban Hoffberger,
AVAM Founder, Director and Primary Curator
“Our peers from London’s Raw Vision magazine and from several national foundations likewise acted to champion Jenenne’s integrity and ‘perfect fit.’ Her personal passion for visionary art, metaphysics, justice and science, mirrors my own. From the moment we met, I felt a load lifted and a great relief descend. She’s our ‘one.’”
The American Visionary Art Museum has been consistently hailed by leading news, travel and trade publications as the most desirable destination in Baltimore and throughout Maryland. Both in 2018 and 2019, USA Today cited AVAM as “Best Museum in Maryland,” and The New York Times confirmed that the museum "deserves all of the praise that has been heaped upon it since it opened,” while CNN declared that AVAM is "one of the most fantastic museums anywhere in America." In 2021, AVAM won in three categories of the Best of the Baltimore Sun’s Readers’ Choice Awards: Activities & Arts; Best Museum; and Best Tourist Attraction, and is currently among the top 10 museums nationally in the category of “Best Art Museum” pending final vote determination in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.
The American Visionary Art Museum is a Congressionally-designated national museum and education center dedicated to intuitive, self-taught artistry. AVAM champions the role intuition plays in creative invention and evolutionary innovation of all sorts — be it in the field of art, science, health/wellbeing, engineering, humor or philosophy, and especially in inspiring compassionate and creative acts of social justice and betterment.
For a detailed history of the American Visionary Art Museum, go to: www.avam.org/history