David L. Dee has been named Director Emeritus at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah. Dee, who served as Director and Curator of Asian Art from 2002 to 2009, also served as Interim Director, Exhibitions Coordinator, and Assistant Curator of Japanese Art at the Museum.
Under Mr. Dee’s energetic and visionary leadership as Director, the UMFA underwent a dramatic transformation, developing into a lively arts center for the campus, the community, as well as the State of Utah. He instituted a dynamic exhibitions program, which included world-class traveling exhibitions as well as scholarly, innovative shows curated from the UMFA’s permanent collection. Dee forged community and public partnerships, which made the UMFA into an invaluable campus and community visual arts resource. He led a revitalized development effort, creating several support groups that included the National Leadership Council, the Young Benefactors Council, and the Friends of Utah and Western Art, and Dee oversaw growth of Museum membership by over 300%. Dee led the Museum’s vibrant acquisitions program, which brought over 2,000 objects in to the permanent collections, including important works of Egyptian, European, American, Asian, African, Native American, and Pre-Columbian art. He championed the visitor experience in the Museum, and introduced new programs and resources to improve and enrich the museum experience for all visitors, especially students and families. His focus on outreach to both the campus and the larger community resulted in unprecedented opportunities for access to the arts in our state through outstanding exhibitions and education programs. In addition, Mr. Dee assumed important state-wide leadership roles such as the chair of the Utah Digital Collections Task Force. Mr. Dee brought positive national and international attention to the UMFA for the integrity of his leadership in museum issues relating to Nazi looted art, as well as for the quality of the exhibitions offered at the UMFA during his tenure.