Shepherd to direct St. Pete’s fine arts museum
After a nationwide search, St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts recently selected Kristen Shepherd as its new director based on her strong record in museum work along with specialized knowledge of art history and business.
Shepherd, who will start her new position Dec. 15, succeeds retiring Director Kent Lydecker. She previously worked for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the New York City-based Whitney Museum of American Art, where she implemented an innovative and award-winning “Curate Your Own Membership” program.
Florida holds a special appeal for Shepherd, who attended high school in Clearwater, has family in the area and relates to the local performing arts community.
“This was the first art museum I ever visited, and it has remained a special touchstone for me,” she said. “I’ve always appreciated the diversity of the MFA collection, with its outstanding examples from so many periods of art history. It’s a beautiful, welcoming collection.”
Shepherd earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in art history from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Starting her career at New York’s Sotheby’s auction house, she gained early experience in strategic leadership and special projects.
“We are thrilled that our search across the country has brought a nationally recognized leader to St. Petersburg who also has roots in our region,” MFA Board Chair Mark Mahaffey said. “We look forward to the leadership Kristen will bring to the museum and our entire community.”
The MFA is located at 255 Beach Drive N.E. in St. Petersburg.