DETROIT (AP) — Salvador Salort-Pons, the Detroit Institute of Arts' executive director of collection strategies and information who has played a key role in the museum's strategic planning process, was appointed Wednesday as the institution's director.
The museum's board named the 45-year-old, who has served as director of the museum's European Art Department since 2011, as director, president and CEO effective Oct. 15. He lives with his family in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills and they plan to move to the city soon.
"I want to build on our visitor-centered approach, making our extraordinary art collection relevant to broad and diverse audiences," Salort-Pons said in a statement. "I envision the DIA as both a place for scholarly research and a leader in learning and interpretation, which will provide fresh knowledge, ample accessibility and opportunities to all our communities."
The native of Madrid succeeds Graham W. J. Beal, who retired June 30. Beal helped to protect the museum's collection from possible sale during the city's bankruptcy and spearheaded a $158 million overhaul.
"I feel deeply connected to Detroit especially through the role the museum has played as part of the city's extraordinary history. ... I truly believe our greatest years lie ahead of us," said Salort-Pons, who also serves as the Elizabeth and Allan Shelden Curator of European Paintings at the DIA.
Beal's nearly 16-year tenure included the renovation and reinstallation of the museum's collection from 2001 to 2007, as well as approval of a 10-year property tax in 2012 from residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
The city's financial turmoil, however, threatened to put the museum's future in doubt, as a debate raged over whether city-owned art should be sold to ease the blow of bankruptcy. An $800 million promise from foundations, major corporations and the state, called the "Grand Bargain," helped protect the collection.
"Salvador's scholarship, extensive knowledge of the DIA, his international experience and his management skills make him the ideal choice to lead the DIA in the coming years," said Gene Gargaro, chairman of the DIA board and the search committee.
Two of the museum's priorities are expanding its tri-county and statewide outreach and increasing its endowment, Gargaro said.
Prior to coming to Detroit, Salort-Pons was senior curator at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.