Culture News

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Hires Peter Bugg and Christina Davis

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art announced on Thursday, September 10, that Peter Bugg and Christina Davis will join the arts institution on September 15 as its new curator of programming and programming coordinator, respectively.

Bugg is an artist and educator who has taught at Arizona State University and in the Maricopa County Community College District. His job as programming curator will involve working with the museum's docents and planning exhibition-related programs and events. The position is similar to the curator of performing arts role previously held by Tania Katan, though the announcement of Bugg's hiring notes that his and Davis' job are newly created. Both jobs are full-time.

“We are very pleased to begin working with Peter," Sara Cochran, SMoCA interim director and curator, says in the announcement. "His knowledge of contemporary art, experience in museums and with docents as well as his concepts for new and innovative programming really set him apart in the interview process. He presented an impressive number of original and exciting ideas for connecting with SMoCA’s loyal audience and reaching out to build new audiences who may not yet know that they need contemporary art in their lives. We are anxious and thrilled to expand our efforts in this area under Peter’s direction.”

Davis has worked at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and the Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York. Her role will involve providing administrative and organizational support . The announcement mentions that she will be an integral part of said expanded programming efforts.

These hirings mark what might be a turning point for the museum. In May 2015, museum director Tim Rodgers resigned following rumors that the Scottsdale Cultural Council, a nonprofit organization that oversees SMoCA, Scottsdale Public Art, and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, was looking to eliminate the directorship positions at each of the institutions. Cultural Council CEO Neale Perl denied the rumors.

Cochran, who had been working as the museum's associate director since February 2014, stepped in as interim director. No plans to hire a permanent replacement for Rodgers have been announced.

In June, SCPA director Cory Baker left her job. It was unclear whether she resigned or was let go.  Ally Haynes-Hamblen is serving as the organization's interim director. Again, no plans to hire a permanent replacement were announced.

Scottsdale Public Art's Donna Isaacs is the only director overseen by the Cultural Council who has stayed at her job.

Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.
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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