MAG appoints academic programs director

Messenger Post Media
Monroe County Post

The Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester recently named Nile Blunt as the McPherson director of academic programs. 

The New Jersey native comes to MAG with nearly a decade of experience in museum and arts education. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from American University in Washington, D.C., and a Master of Arts and doctorate in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Throughout his career, Blunt worked as an educator, curator and museum administrator. He most recently was the head of school programs at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. 

In this position, he was responsible for museum initiatives designed for student and teacher audiences. Blunt oversaw the school visits program, which serves over 45,000 K-12 students every year; the Crystal Bridges in the Classroom school partnership program; teacher professional development; and online/distance learning. 

He also administered the Windgate Educational Excellence through the Arts Endowed Fund and directed Windgate initiatives. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Blunt created and directed “Bridging the Gap,” a collection of over 50 arts engagement videos that explore and teach the skills of close looking and art interpretation.

“I am a firm believer in and deeply passionate about the power of art to transform lives and to broaden the worldview of learners of all ages,” Blunt said. “I am excited to be at MAG, because of the extraordinary potential to find new and exciting ways to activate its incredible collection and resources to impact the lives of students at the University of Rochester, in the city of Rochester and the greater region.”

Trained as a historian with a focus on visual and material culture, Blunt is interested in the integration of the arts throughout the humanities and sees many possibilities for the roles that the fine arts can play in teaching, learning and conducting research within the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

“We conducted an international search for the McPherson director position, with strong applicants from a number of U.S. states and Canada,” MAG director Jonathan Binstock said. “I could not be more thrilled about Nile’s arrival in Rochester. His expert knowledge of American history and his experience at Crystal Bridges, renowned as a pioneering institution in arts education and school programs, make him ideally suited to enrich and strengthen MAG’s academic and educational programs in the years ahead.”

Nile Blunt.