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Arts & Culture

Changes At SAMA Provide Growth Opportunity For American Collection

Courtesy photo
The San Antonio Museum of Art.

The San Antonio Museum of Art recently created a new position: Curator of American art. I went to SAMA last week and spoke with William Keyse Rudolph to find out what that means for San Antonio.

"I am the Marie and Hugh Halff curator of American art, and then I also serve as the Mellon chief curator," Rudolph said.

What that means is he will curate the museum’s American Collection, and he’ll oversee the rest of SAMA’s curatorial staff. That could mean big things for the museum, specifically in the area of his specialty, American art.

“SAMA is an extraordinary museum with really, really strong holdings," Rudolph said, "and one of my jobs is to ensure that the American Collection grows to be on a par with some of our fabulous collections like our Latin American art, our amazing antiquities and our Asian collection."

Rudolph places the San Antonio Museum of Art among the city’s greatest assets.

"As a great city that attracts a lot of visitors every year for its history, culture, and tourism, the museum plays an important part of that," Rudolph said. "So we have an obligation that when people come to see the museum they’re seeing art at its best, and getting great experiences."

He also seems to have a big picture sense about how museums must be run.   

"Museums are a business like any other business" he said.  "It’s a business that deals with beautiful things and indelible experiences, but we do need to effectively deal with how we use our collections and our resources, and to be good pubic servants because that’s what we do: We hold things in trust for the public."

This isn’t Rudolph’s first time in Texas, he worked for a time at the Dallas Museum of Art.

“As a former Texan I love the state. Its people, its art," he said. "And I was thrilled to have the chance to come back to the state, and take out my citizenship again in the Republic of Texas."

We’ll keep you updated on changes at SAMA.