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Kelvin Browne to retire as Executive Director and CEO of the Gardiner Museum

11 months ago

Boyden Canada to lead search for successor, beginning this month

Toronto—The Gardiner Museum announced that Executive Director and CEO Kelvin Browne will retire at the end of 2022. Browne’s initial retirement plans were put on hold due to the pandemic, when he accepted a contract extension that would see him guide the Museum through its temporary closure and recovery. He will continue in his role until the Board selects his successor.

The Board has appointed a special committee to recruit Browne’s successor, beginning this month. The committee has engaged Boyden Canada to lead the executive search. Interested candidates should contact Nick Chambers at nchambers@boyden.com.

“The Gardiner has thrived under Kelvin Browne’s bold leadership since his arrival at the Museum in 2013,” said Board Chair James Appleyard. “His commitment and vision have transformed the Gardiner into a vital cultural hub that centres community and celebrates the potential of clay to inspire. The Board is grateful for Kelvin’s passionate direction and outstanding contributions over the past 9 years.”

“I am proud of how the Museum has evolved to represent new audiences and perspectives, and the opportunities we have given Canadian artists and makers at different stages of their careers. I look forward to seeing how the Gardiner will continue to innovate and make art accessible in our city. I have no doubt the Museum is in excellent hands with the next generation of visionary cultural leaders, artists, and philanthropists,” said Kelvin Browne, Executive Director and CEO of the Gardiner Museum.

During his tenure at the Gardiner, Browne has overseen transformative capital campaigns, including the reinstallation of the European Porcelain Galleries (2015), the revitalization of the Linda Frum & Howard Sokolowski Plaza (2018), and the addition of the Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney Community Clay Studio (2017), the Rosalie Wise Sharp Gallery (2019), and the Joan Courtois Gallery (2019). Browne spearheaded the commission of three new public artworks, including Cracked Wheat (2018) by Canadian artist Shary Boyle and forthcoming works by Tekaronhiáhkhwa / Santee Smith and An Te Liu.

Under his direction, the Gardiner has mounted an ambitious program of exhibitions, including Yoko Ono: The Riverbed (2018), Ai Weiwei: Unbroken (2019), and Shary Boyle: Outside the Palace of Me (2022).

Of particular note is Browne’s commitment to accessibility and local engagement. In 2016, the Gardiner launched the Community Arts Space Project, an incubator for arts-based community projects. In 2021, the Museum piloted Gardiner Goes Outside, a one-of-a-kind initiative that safely delivered free outdoor art activities during the pandemic. The Museum has also expanded its education access fund, offering free clay classes and camps to low-income families.

Since 2018, free gallery admission has been extended to students, including at the post-secondary level, and to all visitors 18 and under. Led by Browne, the Gardiner secured vital support that allowed the Museum to offer free admission to all visitors for extended periods in 2020 and 2021 as a way of fostering connection and supporting the city’s recovery after months of COVID-19 lockdowns.

The Gardiner looks forward to continuing the work of building community with clay and championing Canadian artists and makers at home and abroad.


The Gardiner Museum brings together people of all ages and communities through the shared values of creativity, wonder, and community that clay and ceramic traditions inspire.

We engage audiences with exhibitions, programs, and hands-on classes, while stewarding a significant permanent collection. We interpret historical ceramics to emphasize their relevance today, and champion emerging and established Canadian artists and their role in the broader world. The Gardiner Museum innovates through clay education, as we bring together the experience of making with a deeper understanding of the art of ceramics.

We believe in making, looking, and thinking through clay.

The Gardiner Museum has a collection of over 4,000 objects from the Ancient Americas, Europe, Japan and China, as well as contemporary works with an emphasis on leading Canadian artists. It is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics and is one of the world’s most notable specialty museums.

For more information, please visit: gardinermuseum.com.


Media Contact:
Rachel Weiner
Senior Manager, Marketing
Gardiner Museum

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