Visual Arts

Arty Girl: Heard Museum Names New Director

Talk about some big shoes to fill.

Back in April 2009, Heard Museum Director, Frank Goodyear announced plans for retirement for the end of this year after a decade of service. The man is responsible for the expansion of programming and the addition of two locations (one that will unfortunately close tomorrow due to our pathetic economy).

The Heard just announced that the search is over for his replacement. Dr. Letitia Chambers, a woman with a mile-long resume and who is of Native American descent (Cherokee) will start in January 2010. I certainly wish her the best of luck in this important position.

Text of Heard's news release follows:


Letitia Chambers to Join Acclaimed Museum of Native Cultures & Art

PHOENIX, Ariz. - The Board of Trustees of the Heard Museum yesterday approved the appointment of Dr. Letitia Chambers as the museum's new director. She will assume her duties in January, succeeding Frank Goodyear, who is retiring after 10 years at the Heard's helm.

"Dr. Chambers' background and broad experience in business, education, government and American Indian culture make her an ideal choice to lead the Heard Museum at this important time in its long and distinguished history," remarks Robert Bulla, Chair of the Search Committee and incoming President of the Board of Trustees.

Bulla's sentiments are shared by the Heard Museum's current president, John Stiteler, who emphasizes that "the perspective Dr. Chambers has acquired from her many years in an impressive diversity of endeavors should serve her well in managing the Heard Museum, which is a large and multifaceted organization."

As founder and CEO of Chambers Associates, she led the knowledge-based policy consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., for two decades. She sold the firm in 2001 to Navigant Consulting, a Chicago-based firm with global outreach. As a Managing Director at Navigant, she oversaw initiatives of the firm related to both public policy and management consulting. Since her retirement from Navigant in 2008, Chambers has developed an independent consulting practice, assisting corporate and non-profit leaders in their efforts to find creative solutions to complex problems.

As an educator, Chambers has worked both as a classroom teacher and administrator, and she performed with distinction as head of New Mexico's system of higher learning. In 2004-05, Chambers took a leave of absence from Navigant to head up the system of higher education for the state of New Mexico, where she worked to revamp and reform key aspects of the system. She led the agency responsible for oversight of all public colleges, universities and community colleges in the state.

Chambers has held a number of senior positions in the federal government, and in 1996 she was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate as a U.S. Representative to the United Nations General Assembly, a position with ambassadorial rank.

Chambers is of American Indian tribal descent (Cherokee), and the appointment marks the first time that the Heard Museum's top position has been held by a person of American Indian heritage. Chambers also is the only woman other than the museum's founder, Maie Bartlett Heard, to lead the institution, Bulla notes.

Chambers' has held key positions on a variety of corporate and non-profit boards of directors, among them several that relate to the constituencies most vital to the Heard Museum. She served for a decade on the board of the Institute of American Indian Arts and Culture (IAIA), which includes both a college and a contemporary Indian art museum in Santa Fe. She is now active as a founding director of the new Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, an organization that enjoys major support from the Ford Foundation. In these and in related roles, she has endeavored to preserve and enhance Indian arts and cultures, improve educational opportunities for Indian students and broaden the public's appreciation for Native contributions to American civilization and to the world at large.

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she holds a doctorate in educational research and curriculum development from Oklahoma State University.

A more detailed bio can be found at

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Lilia Menconi
Contact: Lilia Menconi