WAUSAU- The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum announced the retirement of director Kathy Kelsey Foley this week.
Foley will officially retire on December 31, and assistant manager Matt Foss will assume the role on January 1, 2023.
Foley served as director twice, her first term from 1987 to 1991. She returned to the Woodson Art Museum as director in March 1998.
“Through Kathy’s leadership, the Woodson Art Museum has expanded and elevated the vision of the founding families, while celebrating our mission ‘Enhancing Lives Through Art’ and maintaining the commitment of ‘Always Free Admission’, Board Chairman John Tubbs said in a press release, “Matt Foss has worked alongside Kathy for a dozen years and is highly qualified to lead the museum and uphold the high standards set by Kathy. .”
During Foley’s tenure, the Woodson Art Museum received its third reaccreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and was notably recognized by the Institute of Museum and Library Services as one of five museum recipients of the National Medal for Museum. Service 2017. The Woodson received the Wisconsin Governor’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Tourism Award in 2016.
Foley was inducted as a Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters in 2014; received the Wisconsin Visual Art Achievement Award in 2016; and was honored by the Association of Midwest Museums in 2020 with the Distinguished Career Award.
Foley and Foss have worked together on several projects, including the addition of the museum building in 2012, interior renovations and, most recently, the rooftop sculpture garden. Foss is now overseeing the construction of the Glass Box Studio, which will allow for the expansion of the museum’s artist residency program.
“My long stay at the Woodson Art Museum has been extremely rewarding,” Foley said in the statement. “I am very proud of the museum staff and the dedication, creativity and resilience that everyone demonstrates on a daily basis. Together, we have overcome challenges, met deadlines and dreamed big.
In recognition of Foley’s service and achievements, the museum’s board of trustees awarded her the title of Director Emeritus.