Brian Kennedy has been president, director and CEO of the Toledo Museum of Art since 2010.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Kennedy studied art history and history at University College in Dublin, earning bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. A strategic thinker and collaborative leader, he has overseen the development of a strategic plan for the Toledo Museum of Art that strongly integrates it into the community. The plan has focused on sustainability, especially through alternative energy sources, building staff capacity, introducing new technologies and developing an initiative to promote visual literacy. Diverse exhibition programming and significant art acquisitions have enhanced Toledo’s reputation.
From 2005-2010, Kennedy was director of Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, New Hampshire, which has one of the largest and finest art collections at an American college or university.
Prior to coming to the United States, Kennedy spent eight years as assistant director of the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin (1989-1997) and seven years as director of the National Gallery of Australia (1997-2004) in Canberra. While in Australia, he initiated a free admission policy, increased attendance through a series of major exhibitions and acquisitions, and oversaw a total building refurbishment as well as an expansion to accommodate major temporary exhibitions.
A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, Kennedy is a respected art historian, curator and author. He has written six books, most recently on the artists Sean Scully and Frank Stella.
He is a past chair of the Irish Association of Art Historians (1996-97) and of the Council of Australian Art Museum Directors (2001-03). He is a trustee and treasurer of the Association of Art Museum Directors, a peer reviewer for the American Association of Museums and a member of the International Association of Art Critics. In 2003 he was awarded a Centenary of Federation medal by the Australian Government for service to Australian society and its art. In 2013 he was appointed inaugural eminent professor at the University of Toledo. Most recently, Kennedy received the 2014 Northwest Region, Ohio Art Education Association award for distinguished educator for art education.