Artist, educator and arts administrator Ellen Owens has been appointed director of the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University. In her new role, which will begin on Monday, November 1, she will assume the dynamic direction of the museum, which has a permanent collection comprising more than 5,000 pieces of mainly modern and contemporary art.
âEllen Owens is a talented, innovative and collaborative leader with a great passion for the arts and an unwavering commitment to the educational mission of museums,â said Reverend James J. Maher, CM, President of Niagara University. “These qualities will stand her in good stead as she develops programs and initiatives to strengthen the presence and impact of the Castellani Art Museum as a dynamic resource for the visual arts on campus, as well as for the entire region. ‘western New York. “
Throughout his career, in positions such as Director of Education, Executive Director, Curator and Board Member, Owens has created meaningful experiences for visitors, students and staff. For the past seven years, she has provided strategic advice on the executive team of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, the largest anthropology museum in the United States. This team recently completed an $ 80 million institutional transformation project to reinvent 10,000 square feet of galleries and public spaces, rebrand through a massive marketing campaign and unveil new programming. During his tenure, Owens helped raise over $ 4.5 million for his department through grants, sponsorships and other fundraising initiatives, new collaborations and partnerships were established and participation to the program has increased considerably. Owens and his team launched Unpacking the Past, a multi-stage education program that serves more than 6,000 public college students each year. She also led the groundbreaking Global Guides program, which hires local immigrants and refugees to lead tours of galleries that relate personal stories to the history of their home countries.
Owens has been a coordinator and lecturer in the Masters in Museum Education program at the University of the Arts, and has held several positions at institutions focused on art, history and science in and around the region of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, including executive director of the Magic Gardens of Philadelphia, a folk art gallery and museum; and director of education at the American Philosophical Society Museum, with galleries focused on history, art, and science. She began her career at the Creative Oasis Arts Studio as deputy gallery director and coordinator and instructor of its art camps.
An energetic advocate and volunteer for the arts, Owens has held numerous nonprofit board positions with the Print Center, the Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia, the Arts and Business Council of Philadelphia, Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania, and others. She is a graduate of notable leadership programs such as the Getty Leadership Institute and the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute at Bryn Mawr College.
âThe Castellani family and I welcome and look forward to Ellen joining the museum team and the NU family,â said Carla Castellani, daughter of museum founders Armand and Eleanor Castellani. âHis keen sense of museums and his experience in the field of education will be a tremendous asset. She is dedicated to building on the past, supporting the museum’s mission and developing a stronger future in service to the community and the region.
âAs I became more familiar with the Castellani Art Museum, I was won over by its origin story of Armand Castellani’s successful business ventures and his passion for modern and contemporary art,â says Owens. âThe Castellani’s commitment to diverse audiences through its folk arts and education programs, as well as its integration of learning projects for Niagara students, aligns directly with my own values ââand professional experiences. I am delighted to take the helm, as I think the museum is an incredible resource for the region.
A frequent speaker at professional conferences and a published author, Owens holds a Master of Arts in Museum Education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia; and a Bachelor of Science in Arts Education and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania.