Culture News

David M. Roche Named Director of Heard Museum in Phoenix


David M. Roche has been appointed director and chief executive officer of Heard Museum, the arts organization announced in a Wednesday, October 21, news release.

Roche will begin his directorship at the Native American arts museum on January 1, 2016. His predecessor, James Pepper Henry, stepped down from the position in February 2015 to become the executive director of Tulsa, Oklahoma's Gilcrease Museum. John Bulla, who previously headed museum operations, has been filling in as the Heard's interim director.

“The Heard Museum has long been a source of inspiration for me," Roche says in the prepared statement. "Building on its many strengths and ensuring that we reach the broadest possible audience both in Phoenix and beyond strikes me as important and very exciting work.” 

For the past 18 years, Roche has headed up Sotheby’s American Indian Art Department. His previous jobs include working as director of Gallery 10 in Scottsdale and Santa Fe and serving as vice president of New York's Kaiser-Engler Group, which works with nonprofit arts organizations. Roche studied history at the University of Illinois and earned his masters in arts administration from New York University.


“David’s passion for and expertise in American Indian art combined with his experience and leadership skills are a perfect match for the Heard Museum," Heard Museum board chair Sue Navran says in the release. "The Board was unanimous in its view that David is the ideal director and CEO."

Roche joins the Heard as it prepares for a major remodel, funded by a $1.25 million grant from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. Two existing galleries will be joined into one larger space, and technology upgrades will be integrated. The renovations are slated to begin in May 2016 and wrap up by the end of that year. The increased gallery space will allow for more large-scale touring exhibitions. 


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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski