, hired recently as executive director of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
, said he
hopes to expand existing art classes for children.He
has also begun planning a celebration of the museum's 75th anniversary in 2006.
HAGERSTOWN - As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin
, Joseph Ruzicka
was on the road to becoming a doctor.
"I never intended to go into art history," Ruzicka
said."I was on a pre-med track.Then one year, I took a Renaissance to modern art class and that was it."
The "it" was an insatiable desire to pursue a professional career in art history and museum work.Looking back on his
early childhood also played a role in his
decision to switch career paths.A family tradition helped lay the foundation for his
career in art.
"Going to museums and going to the opera, it was part of how my parents brought us up," said Ruzicka
, who grew up in northern New Jersey."It was very natural.It was just part of life."
After an eight-month search, the museum's board of trustees hired Ruzicka
to take over as director of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
on July 1.He
replaces Jean Woods, who resigned on July 31, 2003, after 21 years.
Search committee chairman and museum board President Spence Perry
and other board members are excited about Ruzicka's enthusiasm and future plans, which include concentrating heavily on reaching out to the community. Ruzicka
hopes to expand existing art classes for children and as he
builds relationships with community members, he
hopes to increase financial support and attendance at the museum. He spent the last two years as executive administrator of the Association of Art Museum Curators in New York. He earned a bachelor's degree in art history from the University of Wisconsin in 1982.He also earned a master's degree and a doctorate from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.He has held positions at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, N.Y.He also worked at the Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin.
Now a museum director for the first time, Ruzicka
first priority is to revise museum policies about existing collections.Within the next year, he
and the museum's collection committee will develop a new policy.
In 2006, the museum will reach a major milestone.
"The biggest thing is planning for the 75th anniversary," he
is planning several events that will celebrate the museum's history and its role in the community for the last three-quarters of a century.Jim DeYoung, a senior conservator with the Milwaukee Art Museum
, describes Ruzicka
as a team player.