BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The American Visionary Art Museum’s board of directors has appointed Jenenne Whitfield as the museum’s next director.

Whitfield, president and chief executive officer of The Heidelberg Project, becomes only the museum’s second director in its 30-plus-year history. She succeeds Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, the museum’s founder, primary curator and longtime director.

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AVAM Board Chair Christopher Goelet said the board was proud to have brought such a “devoted and credentialed artistic leader” into the fold to build on Hoffberger’s legacy.

“Jenenne’s long tenure with the Heidelberg Project, one of our nation’s most respected mission-driven artistic endeavors, is a testament to her commitment to enliven local communities and give voice to the concerns of our day through original and inspired artistic expression, also core to AVAM’s mission,” Goelet said.

In a prepared statement, Whitfield said she was “beyond thrilled” to join AVAM, an institution whose “philosophy and visual aesthetics are beautifully aligned with what it means to be human and what we should strive for as a human race.”

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“Rebecca has done an extraordinary job of embracing, advancing and providing a place for the intuitive creative spirit to flourish and grow,” Whitfield said. “I look forward to building upon her strong foundation by increasing AVAM’s visibility, building greater alliances and taking AVAM to its next level.”

Whitfield has worked with The Heidelberg Project, a Detroit-based outdoor artistic organization, for nearly three decades. In 2017, Whitfield became president of the organization, which has received international recognition under her leadership.

Additionally, Whitfield has taught classes on art as a social practice at both the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. She also co-founded United Artists of Detroit (UAD), a new art collective based in Detroit.

Hoffberger, who has spent more than half her life working on AVAM, said she has the “utmost peace and joy in our rightful selection” of Whitfield as her successor.

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“She cherishes and ‘gets’ all the key elements that have made AVAM such a healing and magic, beloved destination,” Hoffberger said in part. ” … Her personal passion for visionary art, metaphysics, justice and science, mirrors my own. From the moment we met, I felt a load lifted and a great relief descend. She’s our ‘one.’”

CBS Baltimore Staff