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Museum of Latin American Art names new president

March 17, 2009 |  3:14 pm


The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) of Long Beach has named Richard P. Townsend as its next president and chief executive officer. A museum spokeswoman said the position has been vacant for more than a year.

"I'm glad they waited for me," Townsend joked in an interview Tuesday.

Townsend, 44, who most recently served as deputy director for external affairs at the Miami Art Museum, will assume his Long Beach post on May 1. In Miami, Townsend oversaw fundraising and communications activities, and served on the organizing team for the national touring exhibition of the work of Argentine artist Guillermo Kuitca, launching in October. Both the Miami Art Museum and MOLAA participated in the national tour of Cuban artist Wifredo Lam in 2008.

"There is a great deal of correspondence between Miami and the Los Angeles region and both coasts," Townsend said. "Both, given their geography, are essentially a part of Latin America; it's adjacent to L.A., and both cities have very strong Latin American roots.... It is my great fortune to have had the background in the Latin American art world during my tenure in Miami." The Long Beach museum, Townsend said, "is one of the few dedicated institutions to the cause, and that made it very appealing to me and, I hope, made me appealing to them."

Townsend received a bachelor of fine arts degree in art history from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1986 and a master of arts from New York University in 1989. Prior to joining the Miami museum, Townsend served as executive director and chief executive officer of Price Tower Arts Center, a museum of art, architecture and design housed in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Price Tower in Bartlesville, Okla.

-- Diane Haithman

Photo: Richard P. Townsend. Credit: Stephen Holman