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Curator of MOCA Tucson leaving museum post

Ginger Shulick Porcella, executive director of Tucson's contemporary art museum, is leaving for a position in Minnesota. She had been MOCA's head since 2017.

MOCA will launch a search for a new ED and chief curator, and Porcella will "continue to share her curatorial talents with MOCA into 2020," museum leaders said.

Porcella will become the executive director of Franconia Sculpture Park, in a rural section of the St. Croix River Valley just northwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. The 43-acre park — which is free and open 365 days a year — displays more than 120 sculptures, viewed by 150,000 visitors each year. The founding ED of that organization was fired just more than a year ago for "inappropriate conduct toward a young female artist," the Minneapolis StarTribune said.

"I like the role art can play in our daily lives," Porcella told the StarTribune. "I think Franconia does a really great job at incorporating art into people's lives who may not go to a museum or a gallery."

The board of the Tucson museum praised Porcella in announcing her departure Thursday: "Since the beginning of her tenure, MOCA has seen growth in attendance, donor contributions, and grants. In addition, its exhibitions and educational programs, led by Ginger, have been praised by national and international publications, positioning MOCA Tucson as a an important incubator and connector for contemporary art across the Southwest region and beyond."

Porcella said in a news release from MOCA that she is "honored to have served MOCA's artists, audiences and the Tucson community. I'm incredibly proud of the exhibitions, programs, and audiences my team and I developed, and I'm confident MOCA will find someone to carry forward the mission and expand the vision even further. I look forward to presenting exciting exhibitions and programs for MOCA through 2020."

"We are grateful for Ginger's contributions to our organization and community; she helped MOCA become a more inclusive and accessible organization" said Kira Dixon-Weinsten, president of the board of the Tucson museum.

Porcella will start at the Minnesota sculpture park in September, MinnPost reported:

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A Chicago native, Porcella has more than 15 years of arts administration experience, including a successful history of development and fundraising for arts organizations and individual artists. She is a frequent lecturer and has curated exhibitions at museums across the United States.

In two years at MOCA Tucson – she started there in April 2017 – Porcella increased its budget by 20 percent, doubled attendance and secured large national and international grants focusing largely on the work of female, LBGTQIA+ and artists of color.

"Ginger is a visionary leader," Franconia board chair Dorothy Goldie said in a statement. "Franconia’s mission is to provide physically and intellectually wide-open spaces where all are inspired to participate in the creative process. The Board unanimously feels that Ginger is the perfect candidate to help us shape what that looks like going forward."

"I am thrilled to be joining the team at Franconia Sculpture Park at this critical stage in their evolution," Porcella said. "I’m looking forward to building upon their past successes to re-envision what the future of Franconia will look like for the next generation of artists and audiences. Their mission is truly inspiring, and I can’t wait to be a part of the creative community of Minnesota."

Prior to working at MOCA, Porcella was the ED and chief curator of the San Diego Art Institute.

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Ginger Shulick Porcella