Nick NelsonPhoto provided by CITY OF SPRINGFIELD
Nick Nelson

Photo provided by CITY OF SPRINGFIELD
The Springfield Art Museum Board has selected the museum's next director.

Nick Nelson, executive director of Albany Museum of Art in Albany, Ga., since 2009, is expected to start his new position with the Springfield Art Museum Aug. 6, according to a city news release.

“The Springfield Art Museum is an extraordinary museum with an incredible collection, a fantastic facility, and a wonderful board and staff,” Nelson said in the release. “There is an obvious appreciation for the arts and their potential to create a better community here in Springfield.

"I look forward to reaching out to the community and making the Springfield Art Museum a leader in the cultural life of Springfield and southwest Missouri."

Nelson succeeds Jerry Berger, who retired late last year. Nelson and director finalist Connie Gibbons, executive director of Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, Wyo., interviewed with the Art Museum Board last week.

“(Nelson) will bring to the museum an energy, enthusiasm and expertise that will serve to propel the museum to the forefront of Springfield and southwest Missouri's cultural mission,” Art Museum Board Chairman Ron Hawley said in the release. "Besides his education and professional experience, his record of collaboration among the various community organizations has been impressive, and we look forward to that effort continuing here in Springfield.”  

During his tenure with Albany Museum of Art, Nelson led the museum in its successful reaccreditation efforts with the American Association of Museums. Nelson, who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Georgia universities, also helped the Georgia museum expand its outreach and education programs, host award-winning exhibitions, and form community and statewide partnerships with other museums and organizations, the release said.

Roughly 132 applications were submitted for the Springfield Art Museum's top post after the city began a nationwide search in February. Three separate finalists were selected for the position in October, but none were offered the job, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.