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The Frick’s Robin Nicholson moving on to Georgian post in February

Mary Pickels
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John Altdorfer
Dianne and Robin Nicholson, “Undressed: A History of Fashion in Underwear,” Frick Art Museum, Point Breeze, Oct. 19, 2017.

The Frick Pittsburgh’s executive director, Robin Nicholson, will leave his position in February to begin a new job as executive director/CEO of Telfair Museums in Savannah, Ga., according to a news release.

Nicholson leaves following four years as the Frick’s third director.

“It is a bittersweet moment because I have cherished every day at the Frick and enjoyed the opportunity to work at an amazing, unique, and beautiful museum. I believe I leave the Frick in an exceptionally strong position in terms of a vision for the future and a reputation that has grown exponentially over the last four years. I would like to thank the board and staff for their incredible support,” Nicholson says in the release.

“The board is most grateful to (Nicholson) for the job he has done. While the Frick has always been a superb institution, under (Nicholson’s) leadership it has grown in membership, programming, and visitation. He leaves the organization at its strongest point in its history. In addition to his strengths as a director, we are very fond of (him) as a person. He will be missed and we wish him great and continued success at the Telfair Museums and beyond,” says Chip Burke, the Frick’s board of trustees’ chair, in the release.

Nicholson’s achievements while helming the Frick include completion of a $15 million capital campaign and museum expansion on budget and ahead of schedule and raising more than $16 million, the release adds.

In 2016, he secured additional major funding, including a $1 million grant for exhibitions and accessibility, the largest non-capital gift ever received by the Frick. He also developed and implemented the museum’s first-ever comprehensive strategic planning exercise, with twin goals of five-year and 25-year planning, the release notes.

Nicholson also led Frick in building new and diverse audiences with the museum’s focus on fashion exhibitions and programs. In 2016, the Frick’s presentation of “Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe” attracted more visitors than any other exhibition presented at the museum in the previous decade.

Following up on that success is last year’s “Undressed: A History of Fashion in Underwear,” a very popular exhibition organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, for which the Frick was the exclusive North American venue.

Last spring and summer’s exhibition of “Van Gogh, Monet, Degas: The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” drew nearly 48,000 visitors, far more than any show in the museum’s history, according to the release.

“The board of trustees looks forward to a nationwide search to attract a candidate that can build upon and expand the vision and strategic plan that have been laid out for the next several years. We will be working with (Nicholson) over the next few weeks to assure an orderly transition before his departure in February,” Burke adds.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

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