Breaking: Namita Gupta Wiggers is the new Number One at the craft museum

Namita Gupta Wiggers, new director of the Museum of Contemporary Craft

The Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art has found its new director, and she was close at hand. The new director and chief curator at the museum will be Namita Gupta Wiggers, the museums current chief curator. She will start her new position July 1, according to Tom Manley, president of PNCA and CEO of the museum

Wiggers has worked as head curator at MoCC since 2004, when the craft museum was transitioning from a community-based, workshop, gallery and shop on Southwest Corbett to full-fledged museum in the Pearl district. When financial troubles threatened to sink it, she was there for the rescue by PNCA and she’s helped the museum find its feet since then. Her success as a curator is on display right now at the museum in Betty Feves: Generations, a gorgeous show that uncovers an important part of Oregon’s craft history (the career and art of Pendleton ceramic artist Feves), links it today and then project it forward into the future.

Wiggers has curated important shows on other Northwest masters (Ken Shores and Laurie Herrick) as well as international figures (Ai Weiwei: Dropping the Urn), and she’s been important in the integration of PNCA and its educational mission into the museum.

In the press release announcing the hire, Manley explained the decision: “Namita is a very gifted curator with a world-class reputation. She is also a thought leader on craft and design and an effective administrator with the strategic thinking skills and day-to-day savvy to realize an ambitious vision for the Museum. Her appointment is effective July 1 and coincides with the arrival of PNCA’s new Academic Dean, Mark Takiguchi (coming from California College of the Arts). This brings the College a new opportunity to strengthen the ties between the Museum and PNCA curricula and thus enhances curatorial studies opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students.”

Wiggers, who was a studio jeweler who once sold work at the museum,  currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Craft Council and has served on review panels   for the Pew Charitable Trust, the Bush Foundation, and Oregon Art Commission. She has  lectured at colleges and universities throughout the United States, and will be the keynote speaker for zimmerhoff, 2012 in Germany.

More from the press release: “With Elisabeth Agro, Wiggers is co-founder of Critical Craft Forum which connects artists, academics, and museum professionals through annual programs at College Art Association, an open Facebook page connected with The Journal of Modern Craft, and forthcoming publications. Wiggers currently serves on the Board of Trustees, American Craft Council, and the curatorial board of accessceramics, an online clay-focused database.”

We’ll be delving into the hire and what it means in future posts.

2 Responses.

  1. Hoping that the fundraising and admin duties don’t deter from the beautiful curating she does, such as seen in the current Betty Feves show.

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