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New Benton Museum director has plans for a more open and active museum
August 29, 1997

The William Benton Museum of Art has named Sal Scalora its new acting director, to lead the museum into its fourth decade with a vision of expanded community involvement and international diversity in the arts.

"I'm elated. For years I've thought about the development of this museum's full potential as the center of cultural exhibits for UConn and the state," said Scalora, an associate professor of art. "I see my appointment as the most challenging opportunity I have ever had in my career."

Robert Gray, dean of the School of Fine Arts said UConn is fortunate to have Scalora for the position.

"Sal is the best curator and director for world arts I have ever known," he said. "He enjoys working with those in other disciplines at the University and he will bring a new spirit to the museum, putting emphasis on the extraordinary artworks in our collection and placing them in the context of more international activities in the arts."

Scalora was a resident visiting artist and Wampler Professor of Art at James Madison University in 1995. He graduated from UConn with a fine arts degree before earning his master's degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1976.

He has travelled to Louisiana to research and arrange a future exhibit of drawings by self-taught African-American artists; to Janetzio Island, Michoacan, Mexico, to document the Mexican Day of the Dead Festival; and to Haiti to collect voodoo flags and videotape their creations.

Scalora already has goals in mind for the Benton.

"People are my greatest concern. I plan to create a more open and active museum. My first goal is to make this building and museum more accessible and inviting to everyone on campus, in the community and throughout the state. We're only successful if people come to the museum and benefit from our activities," he said. "We will also be developing greater ties and providing new links to the academic community with coordinated exhibits."

The museum will celebrate its 30th anniversary this fall.

Renu Sehgal-Aldrich