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Virtual | AT CONNECT: Pauline Willis

September 30, 2020 | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Image: Pauline Willis, Director and CEO of the American Federation of Arts (AFA).

How to take part!

  1. Click here to Register for this event
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  4. For further instruction on how to use Zoom, see here.

ArtTable CONNECT virtual lunch breaks

ArtTable is expanding its CONNECT program to intimate online discussions open to members nationally across chapters. Originally designed to further encourage one-to-one networking amongst its members in DC, CONNECT transitioned to a virtual lunch hour conversation series designed to allow members to ask questions outside their day-to-day areas of expertise.

During this session we will hear from Pauline Willis, Director and CEO of the American Federation of Arts (AFA).

Pauline Willis has been the Director and CEO of the American Federation of Arts (AFA) since 2012, a century-old, not-for-profit organization that develops, raises money, and handles all logistics to tour top quality exhibitions to museum across America. Ms. Willis previously served as the organization’s Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer. 

Under her leadership, the AFA’s exhibition program has been reinvigorated and traveling exhibitions increased from two to more than twenty. Working with the board of trustees and a strengthened staff, she also developed innovative programs relating to museum exhibitions and collaborations, expanded the organization’s membership program, and raised funds to enable these endeavors. 

A curatorial research program developed by Ms. Willis created new partnerships with museums internationally. One, the China Initiatives Program of 2013, fostered cultural exchange with Chinese museums, resulting in the US-China Museum Summit, co-organized with the Asia Society, which brought together over thirty American and twenty Chinese museum directors for presentations and discussions in New York City. In 2018, Ms. Willis oversaw the AFA partnering with the Italian arts organization LoveItaly, and is currently spearheading a cultural exchange of prized Italian collections with U.S. museums.   

Recognizing important issues shared by museums nationwide, Ms. Willis established ArtViews, a panel discussion series for graduate school students and museum professionals to explore and address current concerns among museums and other arts organizations. 

Also under her leadership, the AFA assumed responsibility for administering the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation that oversees a biennial competition and confers thirty $20,000 grants to artists who work in varied media.

Pauline Willis holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York, and in 2019 she attended the Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. She is a board member of ArtTable, a national organization for professional women in the arts, and a board member of the Art Bridges Foundation. She readily embraces diversity through her exposure to varied cultural environments and extensive travel.


September 30, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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