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Santa Monica museum taps two new deputy directors

originally posted by the Los Angeles Times

October 11, 2012

The Santa Monica Museum of Art has announced the hiring of two deputy directors to replace Lisa Melandri, who left her deputy post this summer to become director of the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis.

The new co-deputy directors are Doug Rimerman, who will focus on strategic planning and fundraising, and Claire Ruud, who will oversee day-to-day operations, administration and communications.

Rimerman, 44, has worked at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as a development officer, the Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena as a development director and, most recently, at the higher-education nonprofit the Fulfillment Fund as director of corporate and foundation relations.

Ruud, 30, got her start in the contemporary art world in Austin, Texas, before getting her MBA at Yale. In Austin she served as associate director of the Fluent-Collaborative, a nonprofit group that oversees an alternative exhibition space and a Web-based publication. She also contributed to the online magazine Glasstire.

Why two deputy directors in place of one? Elsa Longhauser, the museum’s director, explains that Melandri’s departure gave her the opportunity to reflect on the business and managerial needs of the museum.

“I knew that the roles I had to fill were management, administration and development, and it became clear this is more than one person could do,” she said, adding that she was excited to find “two vital people with great expertise and energy” who could work together. “It’s a very important defining and redefining moment for the museum.”

Melandri curated several exhibitions during her run at the museum, but the new hires will not be assuming curatorial duties. Longhauser, herself a director-curator, plans to continue using guest curators and has brought on Jeffrey Uslip, who is based in New York, as curator-at-large.

Rimerman will begin his position on Oct. 15; Ruud started work this week.

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