M Board of Directors Announces Dr. Kate Beane as New Executive Director

Dr. Kate Beane

November 11, 2021—The Minnesota Museum of American Art (the M) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Kate Beane as the tenth executive director of the museum. Beane most recently served as the director of the Native American Initiatives at the Minnesota Historical Society. She will begin her new role at the M on Monday, December 13, 2021.

As executive director, Dr. Beane will lead the museum into a new era with the completion of construction on the M’s facility in downtown St. Paul, with expanded programming opportunities and reach, and with deepened engagement with diverse artists and communities. She was attracted to this opportunity because she is passionate about the power of the visual arts to “break down barriers, elevate diverse community voices, and help bring people together.”

“Dr. Kate Beane is an experienced museum professional, and a strong, visionary leader who is the perfect person to lead the M at this important juncture in the organization’s development. The path forward requires a timely push to complete the capital campaign; to complete construction on the M’s facility; to re-open the facility; and to create an elevated platform for advancing the M’s programming model based on co-curation and community collaboration,” said M Board Chair Ann Ruhr Pifer.

Dr. Beane is especially excited by the M as “a bridge for bringing communities together.” That includes helping Minnesotans today connect with our past through the M’s permanent art collection, and it also means inspiring exchange and dialogue between the many communities that collectively form our present. “I envision the M as a place where everyone feels welcome, where everyone recognizes themselves as part of a shared story that is explored through art.”

Dr. Beane (Flandreau Santee Sioux Dakota and Muskogee Creek) holds a B.A. in American Indian Studies and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. As the director of Native American Initiatives at Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) Dr. Beane helped to strategize engagement practices with regional Indigenous communities. She advised MNHS on best practices for incorporating Native perspectives and voices on projects throughout the institution and at historic sites.

Previously, she served as a program and outreach manager at Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) working with Dakota communities across the region. She is currently adjunct faculty in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota, serves as a board member for Vision Maker Media, the Native Governance Center, the Lower Phalen Creek Project in east St. Paul, and is an urban American Indian advisory board member for the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. Dr. Beane was also appointed by Governor Walz to serve on the Capitol Area Architectural & Planning Board (CAAPB).

Search committee member Ginger Shulick Porcella adds to the endorsement of the M’s new leader, “Dr. Kate Beane is not afraid to take risks and do the hard work necessary for the greater good of the Twin Cities and beyond. This is precisely the sort of leader that the M needs at this critical time of growth and development. I’m excited to see how Dr. Beane’s leadership bridges the diverse communities that the M serves.”