The University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum has named a new director: Jill Deupi, director and chief curator of University Museums at Fairfield University in Connecticut.
Deupi’s professional history includes jobs in London, Chicago, Indiana and Washington, D.C., but the 44-year-old is well acquainted with Miami. Her husband is Cuban American and the two have traveled to Miami to visit his extended family for more than 25 years, Deupi said.
“That familiarity and having family down there was one of the enticements for my decision to accept the offer,” she said.
Deupi, who will start her new job Aug. 11, said she was also motivated by the opportunity to work with an institution with an “incredible history” and a permanent collection of almost 19,000 objects.
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Leonidas Bachas, dean of UM’s College of Arts & Sciences, said in a statement that Deupi was chosen after an extensive search.
“Her distinguished museum experience and academic background in art and art history, as well as her enthusiasm to involve our students in experiential learning are a perfect combination for the Lowe to expand its reach as a didactic resource for the university and local community,” Bachas said.
Brian Dursum, 65, announced his planned retirement in September after serving as director since 1990. His last day will be Aug. 27.
Deupi, who lives in Fairfield with her husband and three children, was founding director of the Bellarmine Museum of Art at the university, which opened in 2010. She is also an assistant professor of art history at Fairfield University.
Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, a law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law, a master’s degree in art history from the University of London’s Birkbeck College and a doctorate from the University of Virginia. She has worked at the Royal Academy of Arts in London; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Wallace Collection in London.
Deupi said she would not teach during her first two years at UM because of the demands of her new job, but in her third year she plans to teach museum studies.
She said one of her early priorities will be to improve the museum’s online database with better images of the items in the collection.
“I think it’s very, very important to recognize that the digital world is here to stay and that we can lasso the potential for enhancing people’s experiences with the museum,” she said.