After an extensive search, the Board of Directors of the Lake Region Heritage Center in Devils Lake, North Dakota has selected Springfield Art Museum Assistant Rachel Johnson as their new Director & Curator. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Missouri State University and has been on staff at the Springfield Art Museum since 2013.
She was an integral part of the comprehensive permanent collection inventory, in addition to her duties cataloging, researching, and handling art. Johnson was one of the first employees to move the museum to the digital sphere, showcasing her extensive research work on the Museum’s various social media outlets. She has presented her scholarly paper “Gender Inversion in 16th Century German Prints” at art history symposia, as well as teaching courses at the Pellegrino School of Music and Art. Outside of her professional experience, she has been involved with the Art History Club at Missouri State University, Make Springfield Weird, and ArtsFest on Historic Walnut Street. Johnson also guest-curated the highly anticipated exhibit “String Theory: Textiles from the Permanent Collection” with Registrar Greta Russell, which opens April 30th.
“We are proud of Rachel’s accomplishments and excited for the Lake Region Heritage Center under her tenure,” Museum Director Nick Nelson says. “The museum not only serves as a creative foundry for our community, but it also trains tomorrow’s arts leaders. As such, our local efforts can have far reaching impacts on the arts and culture industry.”
Johnson brings her passion for the arts to the Lake Region Heritage Center, a 501(c)(3) established in 1974 to preserve and strengthen North Central North Dakota’s art, history, culture, and heritage. As Director & Curator, Johnson will oversee the Center’s schedule of history exhibits, art shows, educational activities, and special events. Much like the Springfield Art Museum, the Center boasts its own permanent collection, while mounting temporary art exhibits. “We were impressed not only with Rachel’s experience, but her vision for the future of the Center and its role as a prominent cultural institution and tourist attraction,” Center Board President George Zenk notes.
Devils Lake boasts North Dakota’s largest natural lake, hosts a ShiverFest event in February, and puts on the annual Fire Department Ice Fishing Tournament. Johnson and the Board acknowledge the importance of promoting the Center as a natural complement to these traditional economic drivers. “Transitioning from the youngest member of the Museum’s curatorial staff to a directorship is certainly exciting,” Johnson says. “One of my first goals is to hold a public forum on the potential uses for the third floor of the Center, which is currently closed. This could be an excellent space for interactive programming, or expanded exhibitions, but we really want to engage with the community to see what their needs and wants are.” Johnson will join the Center staff beginning April 2016.
See Johnson’s culminating work “String Theory,” an examination of textiles throughout time and across various cultures at the Springfield Art Museum, located at 1111 E. Brookside Drive, from April 30th through October 16th. Admission is always free.