Rollins College Cornell Fine Arts Museum Appoints New Director

June 27, 2012

Ena Heller

Ena Heller has been named the Bruce A. Beal director of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum (CFAM) at Rollins College.

Heller joins the Rollins community having most recently served as founding director of the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) in New York City, a position she held since 2004. Recognized for her leadership and artistic vision, she brought MOBIA into the national spotlight by positioning the museum as a leading secular exhibitor of religious masterworks from the Jewish and Christian traditions.

Since the religious context of works of art is not well known, MOBIA was conceived as a learning museum, with exhibitions designed to be supported by lectures, tours, and hands-on workshops. Consequently, Heller has received the Religion and the Arts Award from the American Academy of Religions.

“Dr. Heller emerged from a strong pool of candidates,” said Carol Bresnahan, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Her academic credentials and her experience in museum work in New York City suggest she will be an excellent fit for Rollins. I know I speak for the entire community when I say we welcome her, and we look forward to working with her.”

Heller also served as founding director of MOBIA’s predecessor, the Gallery at the American Bible Society, a small yet significant contributor to New York’s cultural landscape. There she acted as curator for exhibitions ranging from early photographs of the Holy Land to medieval and Renaissance sculpture.

In addition to her professional museum credentials which also include participation in the prestigious Getty Museum Leadership Institute, Heller’s experience as an educator makes her an ideal match for CFAM, which is designed as a teaching museum.

Upon completion of her undergraduate work on museum studies and art history at the Nicolae Grigorescu Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest, Romania, Heller moved to the U.S. and earned a M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She has served as lecturer in the Visual Arts Department at the College of the Holy Cross, adjunct professor at Manhattanville College, research assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and lecturer at the Cloisters Museum, where she combined her love of teaching and direct interaction with artwork.

Heller believes her breadth of experience with art ranging from medieval to contemporary along with her talents and enthusiasm are what CFAM needs to further distinguish itself in the region. She will join Rollins on September 4, 2012.

By Justin Braun

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