Claudine Brown Named Director of Education for the Smithsonian Institution

(4-13-10) Statement from Lance E. Lindblom, Nathan Cummings Foundation

After serving for more than sixteen years as the director of the arts and culture program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Claudine Brown will be leaving the Foundation to become the Director of Education for the Smithsonian Institution.

During her tenure at NCF, Claudine has been a grantmaker who has viewed her grantees as members of learning communities. She has hosted convenings and created opportunities for peer exchanges that have strengthened the fields that she has worked to grow and sustain. She has always been open to new ideas and has encouraged risk-taking and innovation. Claudine has a reputation for asking the hard questions and for encouraging collaboration and partnerships that maximize human and fiscal resources.

When Claudine began to implement the Foundation’s Arts and Social Justice portfolio, she had very few colleagues whose guidelines empowered them to embrace art as a catalyst for social change and civic engagement. This is no longer the case. For more than a decade she has supported the achievements of community-based arts practitioners, brokered relationships between artists and activists and encouraged the growth and transformation of this field. She has worked with her colleagues within the foundation and within the field to break down silos and build coalitions amongst those who do this work. The result is a more robust and informed community.

In our discussions, Claudine has shared that this is a great moment for transition. Grantees and colleagues are researching the impact of this work and there are projects underway to map the field. Many of the newer groups that we supported ten years ago, are now stable and are emerging as leadership institutions. More funders are approaching the work from a variety of vantage points; and our grantees are adept at utilizing a variety of technological tools in both creating and disseminating their work. Though the economy has been a challenge for many, it has also created opportunities that have led to cultural and structural innovations.

As the director of education at the Smithsonian, Brown will be responsible for defining the Smithsonian’s education program and will report directly to Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough. She will develop an Institution-wide plan for educational initiatives, assessment strategies and funding for students in the K-12 range. Brown will oversee two of the Smithsonian’s educational organizations—the National Science Resources Center and the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies—and coordinate the efforts of 32 education-based offices in museums and science centers.

The Smithsonian’s gain is our loss. We will miss her as a co-worker, a leader in the philanthropy community, and as a friend. We wish her well in her new endeavor.

Lance E. Lindblom
President & Chief Executive Officer
Nathan Cummings Foundation