Art / Leaders & People

Dr. Gary Vikan, director of the Walters Art Museum, on Leadership

Dr. Gary Vikan, outgoing director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, shares his views on leadership and the culture of museums that translates across business sectors.

Often leaders do embark on the mysterious notion of ‘vision’ without recognizing the realities and at times forgetting the simplest of business rules of

“Listen to your customer and use your best judgement.”

Dr. Vikan is recognized for opening the Walters Art Museum to the public by removing an entry fee; introducing the nexus of neuroscience and art; and, digitizing the collection for greater public access. He also reinforces the view that the art collection is not owned by a museum director or curator but the art collection is owned by the public and it is for the public.

Ultimately, through greater transparency, engaging the public and developing partnerships with multiple stakeholders, society does indeed benefit from the educational opportunity and through recognizing the value of the arts, science and history.

By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, D.C.

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