Annual Members’ Meeting

Monterey Museum of Art
Annual Members’ Meeting, July 9, 2014
Remarks by the Board President, Executive Director, Chief Curator


Melissa Burnett, President, Monterey Museum of Art Board of Trustees

Thank you for coming to the 2014 Annual Members’ Meeting of the Monterey Museum of Art.  I am Melissa Burnett, President of the Board of Trustees, and on behalf of the Board, I want to welcome you, and extend our thanks for your support during the past year.  I’d like to offer a special thanks to James Booth and the Monterey Insurance Company for their generous sponsorship of this afternoon’s event, as well as Turf Club Catering for providing the hors d’oeuvres.

2013 marked an exciting time of transformation, and I am happy to be here with you today to update you on some of the changes and to share what is to come.  As most of you know, we welcomed a new Executive Director, Dr. Charlotte Eyerman, to the organization last fall, and she has moved quickly to help us address ways in which we can keep the Monterey Museum of Art healthy and viable long into the future, while elevating it to be a premier destination for all visitors.  We will hear from Charlotte in a few minutes, but first I would like to start the meeting by introducing my colleagues on the Board, beginning with the newly elected officers of the Board:

Ronda Eubanks, Vice President
Ronda has served as a Trustee since 2009, and has held the office of Secretary for the past two years.  She serves as the chair of the Trusteeship and Governance Committee, has lent her time to co-chair the Gala, and is an active collector of early California painting.

Sandor Nagy, Vice President
Sandor also joined the Board in 2009, serving as the Treasurer for three years.  As COO of CTB-McGraw Hill, Sandor brings an engineer’s perspective to our problem solving process, as well as the constant reminder that we “cannot save our way to greatness.”

David Tarumoto, Vice President
Since joining the Board in 2012, Dave has shared best practices of both the nonprofit and business sectors with the Museum, drawing on his experience with the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team and his corporate positions.  He serves as Chair of the Audit Committee, and continues to provide leadership in strategic planning.

Marilyn Timoney, Vice President
While relatively new to the Board, Marilyn has quickly tackled challenges in leading our Development Committee and the Special Events Steering Committee.  She continually pursues ways in which to recognize our members, and to make sure everyone knows how appreciative we are of their support.

Pat Maddox, Secretary
Pat joined the Board of Trustees in 2013, after previously lending her leadership in organizing MMA Galas and events.  We are excited to welcome Pat to the Executive Committee, as her sharp eye for detail will benefit the entire organization when approaching new ideas.

Bill Carter, Treasurer
Bill also joined the Board in 2013, and quickly took on the role as Chair of the Finance Committee.  As a Certified Financial Planner with Fidelity Investments, we are fortunate to have his expertise in considering long-term financial sustainability.

We have two newly elected Trustees joining the Board this July:

Judith Marshall
Judith is a contemporary artist, the Board’s first professional artist in a number of years.  With gallery representation in San Francisco and Palm Dessert, we all look forward to her unique insight into the expanding world of contemporary California art.

Kim Negri
Kim has served on the Development Committee for the past year, and we are so delighted she had joined us a Trustee.  With professional experience in corporate communication and as well as several years of experience on other nonprofit Boards, we know she will be a tremendous resource in advancing the Museum.

Also joining the Board this July is the new Docent Chair:

John Greenwald
John has been providing a historical narrative for the Monterey Museum of Art for several years, and we are so excited to have him join the Board as the Docent Chair.

Also serving on the Board of Trustees:

Dionys Briggs
Stefanie Skinner
John Wilkinson
Mona Zander

I would also like to recognize attorney Mark O’Conner, who volunteers his time to the Monterey Museum of Art by sitting in on all of our Board of Trustees meetings, helping to keep our actions in legal compliance.

And finally, it is my honor to announce that Craig Johnson has been elected Trustee Emeritus to the Monterey Museum of Art.  The position of Trustee Emeritus is reserved for past or present Board members in recognition of their exceptional service.  Considering Craig’s six years of service as a Trustee, with a three-year term as President, and Craig’s role as the volunteer Interim Executive Director last year, I hope you join the Board in recognizing his contribution to the Museum.

I thank them all for their incredible commitment to serve the Monterey Museum of Art.

Museum update

As you might expect, I am often asked about what’s happening at the Museum.  Thankfully, there is always an incredible exhibition I can mention, and usually there are several programs that I can share.  But this annual meeting gives us—members—a unique chance to talk in a little more depth about the actions we are considering and the choices we have made.  For very few people of the street want to hear me answer, “We are upholding the Museum’s mission,” but that is exactly what drives the decisions we make.  The mission of The Monterey Museum of Art is to inspire an appreciation of the evolving California artistic legacy and expand a passion for the visual arts, and so we are constantly considering who are the artists that constitute our legacy?  What is our unique artistic history story to preserve and share?  And in this wireless, multi-media, 24-hour world, how do you inspire passion—particularly new passion—for the visual arts?

These are the types of fundamental questions that we consider at the Board level, all while addressing the most basic issues of health, safety and welfare of our staff and visitors, protection of our collections, and long-term financial sustainability of the organization.  The points of intersection for these considerations are sometimes unexpected, but never ignored.  Our meeting today, here in the beautiful Dart Gallery, offers one such example.

The Monterey Museum of Art has long been presenting rotating exhibitions at both Pacific Street and La Mirada.  Upon a careful review of resources, it was agreed that this dual rotation created more challenges than the effect warranted, and that focusing our exhibition presentations at one location would allow us to improve the quality of our exhibitions while lessening confusion in the community and the drain on staff time and costs.  Given the beauty of this location, as well as the physical offerings of climate control and storage at La Mirada, we have begun the process of phasing out rotating exhibitions at Pacific Street, while preparing La Mirada for its more prominent role.

Right now, parts of the former residence at La Mirada are under architectural and historic review, a necessary step in understanding how we can fully utilize all of the spaces, and thus be better stewards of our resources.  As many of you have seen, we have already begun the process by hanging some of the masterpieces of our collection—works by Armin Hansen, E. Charlton Fortune, and William Ritschel—in the Drawing Room Gallery, so that any presentation here is grounded with the history of our community’s earliest art colonies.  We will continue to operate our Pacific Street location as a both an educational center, complete with an exhibit of work from our permanent collection, as well as the administrative center for the organization.  But after the close of the Tavernier exhibition in October, you will no longer have to wonder where to go for an exhibition opening!  Miniatures will be here this fall, as will several other exciting exhibitions in 2015, which our chief curator Karen Hendon will share shortly.

We have had some great successes here in the past year, from the introduction of a quarterly music program coordinated by our volunteer impresario Susan Meister, with our last concert in June creating a standing-room-only demand, to our sold-out Art in Bloom Gala, chaired by Trustees Ronda Eubanks, Stefanie Skinner, and Mona Zander, which raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars.  During the past year, our Financial Committee was reinstituted under the leadership of Bill Carter, and through that team of volunteers we have begun to create policies that better reflect our ambitions of sustainability and growth.  Also during the past year, we have seen our Development Committee take on the challenge of organizing our Legacy Society, a group of members and supporters who have recognized the Museum in their estate plans.  And most recently, we have brought in a new senior staff member to lead us in a revitalized education and engagement initiative, whom Charlotte will introduce in a moment.

Through all of these transformative changes, we have kept our membership stable and improved our financial forecast.    At this time, I would normally turn the meeting over to our Treasurer Bill Carter, but in his absence, I will present a brief overview Treasurer’s report. We are in a strong and stable financial position, ending the year in a cash-positive situation, owing both to Board oversight and strong executive management.  Thanks to the hard work of the Finance Committee, the Board approved new steps in policies and procedures to manage and grow the Museum’s endowment.  A year ago, the Museum was $240,000 into a line of credit, from which it fully recovered by the 2nd quarter of this past fiscal year.  At the close of the last fiscal year, June 30, 2014, the Museum’s cash reserves were over $330,000.   While the news is encouraging, continuing to ensure the long-term fiscal health of the organization is an ongoing responsibility, and building our membership is key to that goal.

What’s happening at the Museum? 

What’s happening is that the Museum is becoming the institution you can count on to provide future generations of art enthusiasts and artists alike a place where they can go to celebrate the long and vibrant legacy of visual art on the Monterey Peninsula.

At this time, I would like to invite Charlotte Eyerman to the podium to further elaborate on some of the initiatives I have mentioned, and to introduce a few members of the staff leadership.  But before I do, I must share the exciting announcement that Charlotte will be honored as a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication later this year.  The award was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. 

Prior to her arrival at the Monterey Museum of Art, Charlotte’s professional focus and expertise for over 20 years has engaged French art and culture in previous positions in academia, at the Getty Museum and Saint Louis Art Museum, and most recently as Director of the French Regional American Museum Exchange.  She continues to discover connections between French culture and the Monterey Peninsula.  Please join me in congratulating Charlotte as she joins me.


Charlotte Eyerman, Executive Director

Thank you, Mel, and my thanks to all the Museum’s Trustees.

On behalf of the staff of the Monterey Museum of Art, I’d like to express my gratitude to all of you for attending this evening and for your membership in the Museum.  Our members are our core stakeholders and provide support for all we do. As important, you are ambassadors for the Museum. Your passion for art and for the stories that we can tell through our collections, exhibitions, and programs are vital to advancing our mission and to helping us connect people with art.

All of us are deeply committed to seeing the Monterey Museum of Art thrive in the present and into the future as we acknowledge its strong foundations and build upon the momentum of the recent and distant past.  As “investors” in the Monterey Museum of Art, you can be assured that your support is never taken for granted and that we—at the staff and Board levels—are committed to being responsible stewards of all the museum’s resources. We are guided by our mission, strategic planning, and rigorous processes of assessment and review, particularly as we envision the Museum’s future and consider the strengths, challenges, needs, and circumstances of its facilities.

It has been a pleasure and an honor to join the Museum and the community, and to learn about the Monterey Peninsula’s history, geography, and cultural and artistic heritage. Since my arrival last October, I am grateful for the warm welcome and generosity of professional colleagues, civic and cultural leaders, the many supporters of and visitors to the Museum, the MMA staff team, and to Board of Trustees for their leadership and guidance.

We are deeply committed to advancing the Museum’s mission and to connecting people with art through our exhibitions, collections, and programs.  I, and we, believe that art transforms people’s lives and we strive to create a welcoming and accessible context for those experiences.   On that note, it is my particular honor to introduce the newest member of the Monterey Museum of Art team, Ami Davis, Director of Education and Community Partnerships. Her first day was July 7, and it is wonderful to welcome her abroad with the news of new grant support for programs in her department from the Pebble Beach Co. Foundation and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation. She will also oversee an existing grant from the Community Foundation for Monterey County, among others.  Ami recently moved back to the Monterey Bay area after 7 years in the Education Department at the J. Paul Getty Museum.  We are thrilled that she chose to join us here. Please join me in welcoming Ami.

We are working hard to maximize the Museum’s resources to ensure that the Museum is fiscally sound, sustainable, and firmly connected to its core mission, vision, and strategies.  We bring a commitment to accountability to the Board, our members, and the public. As we increase our programming and events to demonstrate the Museum’s cultural leadership, we are evaluating their impact and success in order to plan meaningfully for the future and to build our audience.

Art is at the center of our work and presenting it in meaningful and innovative ways motivates all we do.  On that note, it is my pleasure to introduce Chief Curator Karen Crews Hendon, who will provide a brief update on our current and upcoming exhibitions.  Thank you very much.


Karen Crews Hendon, Chief Curator, Monterey Museum of Art

At the beginning of the last fiscal year in July 2013, the Monterey Museum of Art brought a wave of exciting and ambitious exhibitions that did not go unnoticed. A total of fifteen exhibitions were on view this past year.

Return to the Sea, Saltworks by Motoi Yamamotoand In Process—Andrew Schoultz

With Saltworks, Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto made a site-specific installation made entirely out of salt in our Work Gallery at Pacific Street. The public had the opportunity to watch the artist create his installation during his residency as he manipulated salt from a squeeze bottle onto the floor, in a ritual of art and healing, creating a delicate labyrinth to commemorate his sister. We highlighted our permanent collection with Japanese Modern prints in, Hanga Reinvented—The Creative Print, and hand-colored photographs in, Portraits of Meiji Japan—Photography from the 1880s. At the closing of the exhibition, 300 visitors lined-up outside the Museum, eager to take part in the culmination of the exhibition and collaborate in a participatory experience to dismantle the salt installation and return it to the sea. While it took the artist twelve days to install with painstaking precision, it took twelve seconds to dismantle with the help of our community. That very special day we introduced Dr. Charlotte Eyerman as our new Executive Director, who was the first to walk to Saltwork’s center and invite the community to share with her in the first community engagement event of the new fiscal year.

Graffiti-muralist Andrew Schoultz also created a site-specific installation. In contrast with Yamamoto’s meditative space, Schoultz created a high-energy mural that exploded on the walls of the Jane and Justin Dart Gallery at La Mirada with meticulous renderings and fantastic themes that resonated with our audience. Schoultz embellished his three-part mural with the local histories of Monterey and presented his wildly gilded Fall Out installation in the McCone Gallery, with works on paper in the Klemme Gallery. We collaborated with CSUMB’s Visual and Public Art students who participated as mural assistants. While this, too, was ephemeral, a catalogue is due out next month that preserves the memory of the mural and exhibition.

Extraordinary People, Portraits by Yousuf Karsh, Ansel Adams—Visions of Grandeur, and Bob Kolbrener—In Real Time celebrated black and white photography. Through these important photographic exhibitions, we produced a series of cross-disciplinary public programs that celebrated our own extraordinary community in Monterey who contribute to our culture from literature, architecture, music, science, conservation, theater, and visual art.

Miniatures, our annual fundraising exhibition, was the most successful to date in 2013. It grows stronger with more artists, all Museum members, who contribute stunning little artworks with big intentions to help raise funds for programming and education.

The Monterey Now series presented three Monterey Bay area artists who have made significant contributions to the visual arts: Johnny Apodaca, Lucas Blok, and David Ligare.

We begin this year with a shift– pun absolutely intended.   Our current exhibitions include: SHIFT—Five Decades of Contemporary California Painting, from the collections of the Monterey Museum of Art and the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Jules Tavernier—Artist and Adventurer, organized by the Crocker Art Museum, Monterey Now with textile artist Malin Lager.   These exhibitions tell our story from the beginning of the art colony, to the regional influences of the Bay Area Abstract Expressionism. Honoring our past, we foster our current momentum and with revitalized new directions we are promoting our exuberant future with programming with permanent collection artist talks that include:

  • Tracey Adams, Christel Dillbohner, and Amy Ellingson, painters and printmakers who incorporate wax and pigment into their work; all with works in SHIFT.
  • I’ve started my own series called, Curator’s Pick, open to the public once a month to come to the Museum and talk about art on view or in the collection.
  • A Pop-up exhibition that will occur in our Drawing Room Gallery during car week, August 7-18. Photographer Michael Furman will have photographs along with close to thirty rare car mascots or “Automotive Jewelry”  (commonly known as hood ornaments). We’ll hold a book signing with the artist on August 14. There is a free Family Day on August 16.
  • We are collaborating with the Old Monterey Foundation with local historians and scholars like Claudine Chalmers, who worked closely with the Tavernier exhibition, Dennis Copeland, the Cultural Arts and Archives Manager for the City of Monterey and Scott Shields, the Associate Director and Chief Curator at the Crocker Art Museum. They share a special interest in California history and will discuss their projects about preserving and promoting the Monterey story and its rich and vibrant history and heritage.
  • We look ahead to a new, engaging twist this year with Miniatures 2014 here at La Mirada that will also incorporate larger artworks for auction. The popular fundraiser exhibition will include more artists than before, have a longer duration—from October to January— and include community engagement with the public help draw the winning tickets on the closing day.
  • Warren Chang is the next Monterey Now artist. With his paintings of field workers, mariners and local characters, we will engage the agricultural industry with events and educational programs bringing more families and audiences from Salinas, Monterey County, and beyond.
  • For the first time we are working with the Pasadena Museum of California Art in conjunction with the Crocker Art Museum to host a new exhibition on a familiar favorite: Armin Hansen: The Artful Voyage, the first retrospective on such an principal figure who helped define our regional significance in Monterey, who became an important mentor for so many artists to come after him.
  • You will experience many more exciting programs such as musical performances; artist demonstrations with photography, drawing, and printmaking; important permanent collection pieces brought out of storage;  as well as new partnerships in the community. It is a vital time to be connecting with art here at the Monterey Museum of Art.

Melissa Burnett

Thank you.   I would like to close the meeting by thanking you all again for being here and for your membership and support.  Also, thanks to Charlotte and Karen for bringing the “pop-up” exhibition related to “Car Week” to the Museum. The Board and I are delighted to see this happen and for the Museum to engage the community in new ways. Again, many thanks to all of you and we welcome your feedback and look forward to seeing you often at the Museum.  Please continue to enjoy the refreshments and we can continue to talk informally.  We will keep you updated throughout the year to come.