Brown named director of WCU’s Fine Art Museum

David J. Brown, a longtime arts professional experienced in many facets of arts and cultural organizations, has been named director of the Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University effective July 1.

David J. Brown, a longtime leader in the arts, has been named new director of the Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University.

David J. Brown, a longtime leader in the arts, has been named new director of the Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University.

“Mr. Brown brings unique experiences to our arts community at WCU and our regional partners,” said Robert Kehrberg, dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts, which oversees the museum. “David has worked in North Carolina a number of years in the arts and brings a localized perspective to a national outlook on arts in our communities. I am looking forward to working with David to advance the arts in our region and state.”

Brown, of Winston-Salem, has worked in the field of art and visual culture for more than 25 years. Since 2010, he has worked as an arts management consultant, lending his expertise to arts organizations on a project-by-project basis. Prior to that, from 2007 to 2010, he was deputy director of the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Va., where in addition to overseeing exhibitions and developing a quarterly lecture series he transitioned the 50-year-old institution into a new, 81,000 square-foot facility that included an art learning laboratory.

Brown also has served in leadership and administrative roles with the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He has worked with artists including Pae White, Laurie Anderson, Yoko Ono, Willie Doherty, Lesley Dill, David Byrne, John Waters and Dan Perjovschi. He holds a master’s of fine arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, a bachelor’s of fine arts degree from Old Dominion University and a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University.

“I am honored and delighted to be chosen as the new director of WCU’s Fine Art Museum,” Brown said. “Some of the most rewarding times of my career have been in collaboratively creating unique and meaningful intersections with students, artists and the community, and I view the entire WCU campus and region as vibrant partners full of potential.”

Brown is married to Krystyna Puc, assistant dean of liberal arts at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Their son, Zak, is a rising sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Brown also has a grown daughter, Thea, who resides in Richmond, Va., with her family.

WCU’s 122,000 square-foot Fine Art Museum opened in 2005 with a focus on education, community outreach and development of a permanent collection – now at more than 1,200 pieces – of high artistic merit.

Brown will fill a position left vacant by founding director and curator Martin DeWitt’s retirement in December 2010. Kehrberg extended his thanks to curatorial specialist Denise Drury, who has been serving as interim director of the museum for the past 2½ years. “She inspired our university to bring art into facilities across our campus and maintain initiatives within the Fine Art Museum,” he said.

WCU Fine Art Museum hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extended hours until 7 p.m. Thursdays. The museum is closed on university holidays and breaks. For more information about the museum, call 828-227-3591 or go online to