Roger Ward, Ph.D., has been named President and CEO for the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens (ANSG) and returns to the Palm Beaches where he previously served as chief curator and deputy director at the Norton Museum of Art from 2001 to 2011.
In his new role, Ward will report directly to the board of trustees and has general oversight of and responsibility for the financial and physical well-being of all the assets of the ANSG, including its garden, grounds, property and art collection. He officially started his new position on March 15, 2017.
“Roger’s extensive art history, curating, publishing, fundraising and grant writing, acquisitions, lecturing and teaching experience will be invaluable assets at the ANSG as we continue great momentum in 2017,” said Frances Fisher, chairman of the ANSG board of directors. “Our search committee was impressed with his firm grasp on how he’ll translate his knowledge, experience and talent coupled with his understanding of ANSG and what it will take to lead.”
Prior to accepting this new leadership role at ANSG, Ward served for nearly four years as deputy director and chief curator of the Mississippi Museum of Art where he was charged with overseeing collection development, display of the permanent collection, special exhibitions, publications and conservation.
He has also served as a consultant for such prestigious organizations and individuals as the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, the Department of Homeland Security for the restitution of art confiscated in Europe during the Nazi era, and numerous private collectors in South Florida. From 1982 to 2001, he was the curator of European art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.
“I am pleased that Roger has accepted this position.” said Sally Soter, ANSG board member and chairman of its art committee. “Not only does he bring his great knowledge of the arts, but he understands the nonprofit world. Roger will guide the ANSG in becoming the special place that Ann Norton wanted it to be. We are very happy he is coming back to Palm Beach County and to us.”
The historic Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, Inc. is a nonprofit organization established in 1977 by the prominent sculptor Ann Weaver Norton (1905-1982). Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 2-acre sanctuary is comprised of rare palm and sculpture gardens, Ann Norton’s historic home, exhibition galleries and Norton’s own Wyeth-designed artist studio.
“The Gardens organization is poised on the edge of a bright future,” Ward said. “It has been reorganized in a careful but dynamic way and has become a gathering place for cultural, horticultural and preservation enthusiasts. ANSG is now ready to flourish and blossom in some unexpected ways. The new director needs to work thoughtfully with the Palm Beaches community and with numerous civic partners to articulate worthy goals and then achieve them. I look forward to returning to the area full time in this new role. In fact, I never really left; I still own the apartment I bought in 2001 and have maintained numerous close ties over the years.”
Currently ANSG is hosting dual exhibitions behind the garden gates of its two-acre sanctuary on Flagler Drive. The enchanted creatures of RISING: The Mystical World of Sophie Ryder will play among the rare palms and cycads through May 28, 2017. The human-sized memorial bird sculptures of Todd McGrain’s The Lost Bird Project will nest at the Gardens through June 28, 2017.
Located at 2051 South Flagler Drive in the historic El Cid neighborhood of West Palm Beach, the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens are open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entrance fees are free for members, $15 for non-member adults, $10 for seniors (age 65 and older), $7 for students, and children under five are free.Gallery and garden exhibition talks are available on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. The Gardens are also available for private events and are closed on major holidays. For membership or general information, please visit www.ansg.org or call 561-832-5328.