The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum has promoted its curator Katie Robinson Edwards to the position of executive director, the board of the Austin arts institution announced today.
Edwards had been serving as interim director since October 2020 when previous Sarah Story left to become executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission. Edwards has been curator of the Umlauf since 2013.
“We are incredibly excited for a longtime member of the Umlauf family to continue to bring expertise and growth to the Umlauf in its celebratory 30th anniversary year,” said museum board chair James Russell. “There’s no person better suited than Katie to step into this role! In addition to her incredible curatorial expertise, she brings many years of institutional knowledge, from our memberships to operations and everything in between…she literally wrote the book.”
Edwards will oversee the operations and strategy of the 30-year-old institution that exhibits the work of Charles Umlauf and other contemporary visual and performing artists in a museum and garden setting. In a press statement, Edwards said her goals include continuing to bring in and showcase internationally known as well as new local artists and opening Charles Umlauf’s rarely seen private studio to the public.
“It’s an honor to be named the executive director of an organization that I cherish and have been involved with for many years through multiple exhibitions, rebrands, expansions, and more,” Edwards said. “With our 30th anniversary year and many exciting events ahead in 2021, I look forward to leading the Umlauf as it continues to be a local Austin staple for another 30. I’m very aware that it’s the dedicated and talented staff, docents, and volunteers who make the Umlauf so special for thousands of visitors each year. It’s a privilege to work with such a passionate team.”
Edwards holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining the Umlauf, she taught modern and contemporary art history at the Allbritton Art Institute at Baylor University (2005-2013). Edwards’ major 2014 book, Midcentury Modern Art in Texas (UT Press), was the first full-length treatment of abstract art in Texas from the 1930s to the 1960s. She was a co-curator and author for the 2019 exhibition and catalogue, The Art of Texas: 250 Years, by Ron Tyler (TAMU Press). Her exhibitions and essays for the UMLAUF have included those on Farrah Fawcett, Margo Sawyer, Luis Jiménez, Jesús Moroles, James Surls and Michael Ray Charles.