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M. Jordan Love
Academic Curator, Education Department and Co-Interim Director

The Fralin has appointed art historian Melissa Jordan Love as the Museum's first full-time academic curator following a national search. She joined the museum staff August 2012.

The position, funded by a three-year, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant, strengthens the museum's curatorial and academic programming mission as a teaching institution. Love will develop educational programming around the Museum's exhibitions that will both enhance the learning of students at the University and the public's understanding of art.

She will also play an essential role in developing initiatives that integrate the museum with innovation in the humanities across the University, one of the goals of the grant. Love has a joint appointment in the College of Arts & Sciences' McIntire Department of Art, where she will teach from time to time, and will participate in the new Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures.

"We are delighted to welcome Jordan Love to our staff," director Bruce Boucher said. "She brings a wealth of museum and academic

M. Jordan Love

Photo: Dan Addison/U.Va. Public Affairs

experience, tailor-made for the demanding role of an academic curator."

Her academic and museum experience will enable the museum to offer museum-based courses and continue to offer the museum as a laboratory for learning across disciplines, using its collection of more than 13,000 objects to create and analyze new knowledge, Boucher added.

Love earned a Ph.D. in art history in May 2012 from Columbia University, where she focused on medieval art and architecture and the development of towns in southwest France during a time of large-scale town planning. She earned a bachelor's degree in art history and economics at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass.

She honed her passion for museum education experience at the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Mass., where she was a curator, and The Sterling and Francine Clark Art in Williamstown, Mass., where she said the opportunity to be involved in education, marketing and press efforts expanded her role and interaction with the collections and exhibits and her goal of making art accessible.

"Most museum experience is curatorial," Love said. "Working at smaller museums, you wear many hats. I like working directly with art and getting people interested in art. At U.Va., I have an opportunity to get back into the museum and academic world, too."

As academic curator, Love's responsibilities will include:

  • Teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in the McIntire Department of Art and the College's new Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures in conjunction with exhibitions and leading seminars that produce new knowledge about objects in the museum's collection;
  • Working directly with members of the University faculty to include the museum's temporary exhibitions and permanent collections in their classroom activities;
  • Organizing exhibitions for the museum with direct connection to and in collaboration with research interests of faculty and students in diverse departments;
  • Managing a new, for-credit student internship initiative in partnership with the Global Development Studies Program and the University's Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, in which students will work at either the museum or the Kluge-Ruhe Collection;
  • Coordinating faculty- and student-curated exhibitions and research projects; and
  • Overseeing the museum's education department and its various outreach programs

Love will build on work spearheaded by Matthew Affron, professor of art history in the College and curator of modern art, who served as part-time academic curator beginning in 2009. He fostered expansion of academic programming and increased threefold the number of students using the museum as a classroom. The number of departments using the museum to enrich their curriculum has risen to 17 and includes drama, religious studies, French, English and anthropology as well as art history, studio art, architecture, education and medicine. Last year 20 percent of the College's departments had a museum component in their curriculum and more than 1,200 of U.Va.'s undergraduates, or 8.4 percent, used the museum for some of their academic work.

Rebecca Schoenthal
Curator of Exhibitions and Co-Interim Director

Art historian Rebecca Schoenthal has been appointed to the staff of The Fralin Museum of Art as the Curator of Exhibitions, following an extensive nationwide search. After serving in this role as Interim Curator since December 2014, she joined the museum’s full-time staff in August of 2015.

As Curator of Exhibitions, Schoenthal’s primary job will be highlighting the museum’s vast collection and adding new perspectives to those already represented. She also hopes to continue to teach art history classes and work with students to identify and display works that fit their interests.

“The Fralin has strong holdings in such a wide variety of time periods, media and styles,” shared Schoenthal. “So I look forward to working on shows that not only captivate students and members of our community with intellectually engaging art objects on loan, but that also seek to highlight the diversity of the Museum’s collection of more than 13,000 objects.”

Schoenthal earned her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Virginia in 2004 and received her bachelor’s degree in art history from Connecticut College. She has taught classes in contemporary art for the McIntire Department of Art over the past seventeen years, largely focusing on the 20th century. Her vast background combines academic instruction with curatorial experience in for-profit and non-profit museums. Prior to joining The Fralin, Schoenthal spent five years as the curator of Charlottesville’s Second Street Gallery, known for its focus on contemporary art. She has also been an independent art consultant and is well known as an expert on American art from the post-World War II period to the present.

Rebecca Schoenthal

Photo: Courtney Coker

“Rebecca’s breadth of experience in curating for museums and galleries, combined with her many years of study and teaching at the University, make her an ideal fit for our work here at The Fralin,” said director Bruce Boucher. “From the start, she has embraced the fast-pace of our exhibition schedule and has shown herself to be a great asset to our Museum.”

Elizabeth Wright
Director of Development

Elizabeth joined The Fralin Museum of Art in May of 2013. In this capacity, Elizabeth serves as the chief development officer for the Museum. She is focused upon raising major gifts for The Fralin’s planned expansion wing, as well as increasing endowed support for faculty and exhibitions and raising current operating support for the Museum’s membership and educational outreach efforts.

Elizabeth’s career in higher education fundraising has spanned more than fifteen years. She has served as Assistant Director of Development at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, where she recruited engineering campaign committee members for the University’s $1 billion capital campaign. She also worked at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio and Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Elizabeth joins The Fralin from William & Mary Law School, where she served as Director of Annual Giving for nearly seven years.

Elizabeth Wright

Photo: Leah Stearns/The Fralin Museum of Art

A trained classical singer, Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and music from Denison University and earned a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from Indiana University in Bloomington. Although she is experienced in raising major gifts at the University level, Elizabeth’s passion lies with the arts and she looks forward to advocating for expanded funding for the Museum’s continued growth.

Adjunct Curators

Benjamin Ray
Professor of Religious Studies and Adjunct Curator of African Art

Benjamin Ray earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Chicago. For the past thirty years, his teaching and research has focused on the indigenous religions of Sub-Saharan Africa as well as African forms of Christianity. He teaches courses on African Art and Religion, Yoruba Religion, and Death and the Afterlife. His publications include African Regions: Symbol, Ritual and Community, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 2000, and Myth, Ritual and Kingship in Buganda, from Oxford University Press.

William Wylie
Professor of Art and Adjunct Curator of Photography

William Wylie received his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan. He has published four books of his photographs, Riverwalk (University Press of Colorado, 2000), Stillwater (Nazraeli Press, 2002), Carrara (Center for American Places, 2009), and Route 36 (Flood Editions, 2010) all concerned with landscape and place. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in photography in 2005 and a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship in 2011. His photographs and films have been shown both nationally and internationally and can be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Yale University Art Museum, among others.