The executive director and curator of Turlock’s Carnegie Arts Center, Rebecca Phillips Abbott is stepping down from her position as of today.
Abbott said her departure was in order to “have time for added family obligations.”
Assistant Director Lisa McDermott will assume the duties of director on an interim basis beginning Saturday.
Abbott has served as executive director and curator since shortly before September 2011, when the expanded Carnegie opened as a regional arts center. Abbott is credited with curating shows that not only focused on the Central Valley but also honored artists from the region. Some of the exhibits she brought to the Carnegie include Ansel Adams CALIFORNIA; Yvonne Porcella: A Retrospective; Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist; John Barnett, Then and Again; and Picasso: 25 Years of Edition Ceramics.
“It has been an exhilarating time at the Carnegie,” Abbott said. “We created something that hadn’t been created before in this area and we were able to bring in a number of firsts for the program.”
Abbott will continue to serve as guest curator for selected exhibitions, with her first project opening at the Carnegie May 24.
“It’s going to be an extraordinary exhibit drawn from the Rock n’ Roll collection of Matt Swanson, here in Turlock,” Abbott said. “He has some very interesting and rare pieces of Rock n’ Roll memorabilia that will make for another first at the Carnegie.”
Abbott has been instrumental in shaping the mission of the Carnegie Arts Center from the onset.
“Rebecca Phillips Abbott has established the Carnegie Arts Center as a destination for residents from the Central Valley region and beyond,” said CAC Foundation Board President Jeani Ferrari. “Her efforts have positioned us well to continue offering exciting opportunities for engagement with the arts. Rebecca has brought a level of professionalism that was recognized and appreciated by thousands of gallery visitors; she has an amazing talent.”
Abbott was the Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, for eight years. In 1999, she joined the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center where she served as curatorial liaison to the Vatican Museums, working closely with the curatorial and restoration staffs in Rome.
She has a Master of Arts degree in the history of art and has lectured extensively on women artists, the history of art, and photography. She is also a fine art photographer whose works can be found in public and private collections.