Wichita Art Museum names Wichita State’s Patricia McDonnell as new director

The Wichita Art Museum announced Tuesday morning that Patricia McDonnell, the director of Wichita State University’s Ulrich Museum of Art, will be the museum’s new director.

She replaces Charles Steiner, who announced his resignation Dec. 14 after 12 years as museum director. An announcement provided by the museum said he was looking for a new challenge.

McDonnell’s new position is effective Aug. 20 and will be complete on Sept. 15, allowing for her to see through some Ulrich projects, including the current gallery renovation and the museum’s reopening after being closed for nine months.

Her vacancy at the Ulrich will launch a national search for her replacement, she said.

“I am thrilled to stay in Wichita,” McDonnell said. “In the art museum world, to take a professional step ahead, typically that means you move to another city. I’ve made so many excellent friends here.”

She has been the director of the Ulrich since 2007. During her time there, she has tripled public programs and increased attendance and private fundraising, according to the Wichita Art Museum.

She has more than 30 years of museum experience, including stints as the chief curator at the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Wash., and curator of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

The city of Wichita owns and runs the art museum. However, the board of trustees hires the director.

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