It's no rumor that Marilu Knode, associate director and head of research at Future Arts Research @ ASU (F.A.R.) is leaving Phoenix for considerably less dust storms and considerably more humidity to become Executive Director of the Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, Missouri. One of just a handful of open-air museums around the world and accredited by the American Association of Museums, Laumeier (pronounced "lo-meye-yor") is situated on 105 verdant acres in the greater metropolitan St. Louis area and boasts outdoor and indoor galleries that host a variety of art exhibitions, concerts, educational programs, lectures and special events throughout the year. It also mounts a fabulous, nationally recognized fine art and crafts fair annually. According to Knode, despite the threat of terminal basement mildew, the job offers exciting new job-related vistas and brings her closer to her mother, who lives in Kansas City, Missouri, as well as her Milwaukee-based boyfriend and other long-time pals.
Beginning September 14, 2009, she will be not only Laumeier's Executive Director, but also the Aronson Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, which is a part of the package. Knode will be Laumeier Sculpture Park's third director, succeeding Glen Gentele (2001-2008) and Beej Nierengarten-Smith (1979-2001).
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In October of 2007, Knode left her position as a curator at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA) to work at F.A.R., a cultural and aesthetic think-tank and "research center" conceived by ASU President Michael Crow and F.A.R. director Bruce Ferguson and initially underwritten by local art collector and philanthropist Diane Halle. You can check out the entire F.A.R. story by clicking here.
Knode seemed to be the real organizing force behind F.A.R., with a special interest in developing relationships with artists and scholars in other desert regions around the globe. It remains to be seen whether F.A.R. will ever survive Knode's departure, especially given the miserable state of the state's economy, severe cutbacks in ASU's budget and an apparent lack of potential refunding for the project.