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Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg’s executive director steps down

The museum announced Thursday that Kristen A. Shepherd has resigned.
Kristen Shepherd has stepped down as CEO and executive director of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg.
Kristen Shepherd has stepped down as CEO and executive director of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. [ Times (2017) ]
Published Aug. 5|Updated Aug. 5

The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg announced Thursday that CEO and executive director Kristen A. Shepherd has resigned. A news release making the announcement stated that Shepherd’s resignation was accepted in July by Dimity Carlson, chair of the museum’s board of trustees.

The announcement didn’t include any future plans for Shepherd, other than a quote from her saying she would be taking a “brief break this summer.”

The Tampa Bay Times reached out to the museum Friday for more details on Shepherd’s resignation. Darcy Schuller, director of marketing and communications, confirmed in an email exchange that Shepherd resigned and is “moving on to her next chapter.”

“We are grateful for Kristen’s dedication and vision over the past five and a half years,” Carlson said in the release. “She guided the MFA through the challenges of the pandemic, as well as through a period of substantive growth. Kristen has also facilitated acclaimed exhibitions and important loans and accessions. Additionally, she put a strong team in place to continue to move the museum forward.”

Shepherd joined the museum in 2016 and was the museum’s first female director and its sixth since it opened in 1965. During her tenure, she oversaw the renovation of the museum’s permanent collection galleries, she fostered a partnership with Art Bridges Foundation and key works were added to the museum’s collection.

“I’m so proud of all that we’ve accomplished together over the last five and a half years,” Shepherd said in the release. “We’ve weathered an unprecedented global pandemic that was a challenge for all institutions. I’m departing at a good moment, with a talented team in place.”

The board of trustees has already taken steps to find the next director, Schuller said.

The announcement said that “an executive committee of key board members in close collaboration with museum leadership is in place to guide the museum during the interim period before the next director comes onboard.”

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