Advertisement
  1. Visual Arts

James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art director Bernice Chu is leaving

SCOTT KEELER   |   TimesBernice Chu, new director of the Tom and Mary James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, St. Petersburg.
SCOTT KEELER | TimesBernice Chu, new director of the Tom and Mary James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, St. Petersburg.
Published Jul. 8

The Tom and Mary James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art has announced the departure of its founding director, Bernice Chu. Her last day will be August 2.

Chu was hired as the James Museum's interim director in 2017. With a background of experience in design, construction, budgeting and operations management, she was instrumental in organizing the downtown St. Petersburg museum, which opened in April 2018.

Her next endeavor is to help establish the International African American Museum in Charleston, S.C. Founders will break ground later this summer on the former site of Gadsden's Wharf, the disembarkation point of approximately 40 percent of American slaves. In addition to a historical element, the museum will celebrate the accomplishments of the descendants of slaves.

"I love my job and what I do here and our team," Chu said. "But I couldn't turn down because it was an opportunity to work on a project that would touch people's lives."

Prior to her position at the James Museum, Chu worked for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

She was often called on by institutions to help them reorganize to become more efficient. For instance, she guided the Metropolitan Museum of Art's transition from being open from six to seven days.

The James museum contains 400 works of art from the more than 3,000-piece collection of Tom and Mary James. The 88,000-square-foot museum showcases 30,000 square feet of gallery space.

The opportunity to help the James Museum open from the ground up was enticing, and a first for her. She took everything she learned from "fixing" other organizations, namely creating a collaborative team. Chu said that by letting everyone be heard, more creativity and commitment happens.

"Mary and I would like to thank Bernice for her leadership, service and commitment to the museum and wish her the best on her future endeavors," chairman Tom James said in a news release announcing Chu's departure.

James also said that he and Mary James would be working with the museum's core leadership team until they find a new director.

Chu said that the next director would likely have a different skill set than she did, including a background in development. She thinks the James' can take their time to find the right person.

Just over a year after the museum's opening, Chu feels confident in the museum's operations.

"The museum team that we have now is incredible. They're dedicated, they're progressive. The leadership that I'm leaving here will be able to carry on beautifully. So I'm leaving Tom and Mary in good hands."

Contact Maggie Duffy at mduffy@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8572. Follow @maggiedalexis.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Matthew Wicks' "Crosshairs" is part of the exhibition "X: A Decade of Tempus Projects," which will hold its opening reception in Tampa on Dec. 14. [Courtesy of Tempus Projects]
    Tampa’s Clayton Galleries also hosts a farewell sale, while a new gallery comes to St. Petersbug.
  2. Blown glass jewelry by artist Harold Cooney will be available during Zen Glass' holiday show and sale in St. Petersburg on Dec. 7. [Courtesy of Zen Glass]
    Zen Glass also holds its holiday show and party this weekend.
  3. Glenn Woods, 62, shapes a decorative bottle made with a blend of porcelain clays at Palm Harbor's Pottery Boys Clay Studios. Woods and his partner, Keith Herbrand, 56, have created dozens of pieces for the Tampa Bay Tour de Clay this weekend. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    Plus, Dunedin Fine Art Center is having a pottery sale.
  4. Art by Mele's resin sculptures and home decor are available at the Florida CraftArt Holiday Boutique in St. Petersburg starting Nov. 30. [Courtesy of Florida CraftArt]
    Enjoy loads of local art as well as discounts and activities.
  5. Amber Parker sells her Loudmouth Lip Attire during the Tampa Indie Flea in 2018. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times (2018)]
    More than 250 local companies assemble for Shopapalooza in St. Pete, Indie Flea pops up at Black Crow Coffee, Oxford Exchange’s gift bazaar and a shop hop in Seminole Heights.
  6. The store at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times]
    Sunday is Museum Store Sunday, with discounts on everything from ornaments to local art to high-end jewelry to handbags.
  7. Garry Winogrand's "Laughing Woman with Ice Cream Cone",1968, on loan from the Kemper Museum in San Francisco. © The Estate of  Garry Winogrand. [Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco]
    “Controversial” is just one adjective applied to these black-and-white photographs at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts.
  8. The Holiday Open House at Syd Entel Galleries in Safety Harbor will feature Estella Fransbergen's glittering gold clay torso with a skirt of crystals on Nov. 23. [Courtesy of Syd Entel Galleries]
    Plus, a fire sale at the store inside USF CAM and a Trans Fashion Expo.
  9. Joan Miro's painting "Peinture" is on display in the "Midnight in Paris" exhibition at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg. [Courtesy of the Centre Pompidou, Paris]
    Plus, ‘Icons in Transformation’ by an acclaimed international artist and an announcement from the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts.
  10. A mermaid attraction at the Shine mural festival finale is an example of what to expect at Fairgrounds, an immersive art attraction coming to The Factory St. Pete. [Courtesy of Liz Dimmitt]
    Two art compounds include hands-on ways to appreciate art, plus breweries that encourage visitors to make a day of it.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement