Rabbi Jonathan Cohen, Dean of the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), announces the appointment of Abby S. Schwartz as Interim Director of Skirball Museum, as of July 1, 2013.
“Abby Schwartz brings extraordinary talent, energy, and experience to the Skirball Museum and our entire College-Institute community. As our Skirball Museum grows and develops, we look forward to her assuming this leadership role. I have every confidence that Abby Schwartz will raise the profile of the Skirball Museum in our community and beyond, enhance its programs, and increase its contribution to the cultural life of our region“ said Rabbi Cohen.
With over 30 years of museum experience, Schwartz is the former curator of education at the Taft Museum of Art, where she oversaw all educational programming, was responsible for the training and continuing education of docent volunteers, curated temporary exhibitions, and served as staff liaison to the Robert S. Duncanson Society. She has prepared educational materials on the history of the Taft Museum of Art, and has lectured locally about the Museum's collections and the Baum-Taft house in the context of Cincinnati history. She has also lectured widely on Jewish art, notably at the Melton School. She co-curated an exhibition of Jewish and Christian devotional objects with the Skirball Museum, and served as general editor for the publication Artistic Expressions of Faith in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, first place winner of the 1998 Ohio Museums Association Visual Communications Award in the book/catalogue category. She has written exhibition catalogues and brochures, and was a member of the team of scholars for the 4-volume catalogue of the Taft Museum of Art collections.
“I am delighted to be involved with the effort to increase the visibility of the Skirball Museum, which has so much to offer, especially in the context of the other incredible institutions on the HUC-JIR campus, the Klau Library and the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives. I look forward to working with colleagues both within HUC-JIR and in the larger Cincinnati community to expand the museum’s reach and reputation.” said Schwartz.
Abby earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Rochester, where she graduated cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and a master’s degree in art history from the University of Cincinnati. She is the recipient of the 2000 Museum Educator of the Year award from the Ohio Art Education Association and was a Wyoming Citizen of the Year in 2001. She was also the recipient of the 2003 National Art Education Association’s Museum Educator Award for the Western Region. A former high school humanities teacher and Taft Museum of Art docent, Schwartz was affiliated with the Museum for 28 years before her retirement in 2007. She has served as national coordinator of Jewish American Heritage Month since June of 2009. She has been involved with The Search for the Spiritual Through Art lecture series since its inception in 1995, first as a Taft Museum staff member, and in recent years as a volunteer.
Abby is married to Dr. David Schwartz, and has two married children and four grandchildren.