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Photo of new Plains Art Director and CEO, Erin Shapiro
Plains Art Museum

Plains Art Museum Names Erin Shapiro as New Director and CEO

Shapiro will lead the museum into its next chapter of growth and innovation

The Plains Art Museum has announced the appointment of Erin Shapiro as its new Director and CEO. Shapiro will assume her new role on October 30, 2023.

Shapiro is a dedicated museum professional with a vast array of institutional experience. She has served in leadership positions at museums across the country, including the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives in Honolulu, Hawai’i, the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, VA, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and the Springfield Museum of Art, A Smithsonian Affiliate, in Springfield, OH.

“I am thrilled beyond measure to lead the team at Plains Art Museum,” said Shapiro. “The institution has a remarkable track record of top-tier exhibitions, community engagement, and hands-on art-making opportunities for all. I’m proud to build upon this legacy of excellence, and my family and I look forward to joining the Fargo community!”

Shapiro’s areas of focus include the implementation of DEAI principles within the museum sphere, with particular emphasis on accessibility for all; digitization of archival materials and object collections for increased propagation and outreach capabilities; as well as creation of exhibition opportunities for under-represented artists.

Erin has an impressive background in studio art. She holds an MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Additionally, Shapiro received a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BA in Art and English from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, where she was an Emerson Scholar. She’s a former resident of the Contemporary Artists Center at Woodside in Troy, NY, and was a fellow at the Stone Carving and Sculpture Studio in West Rutland, VT.

“Erin brings a breadth of arts and leadership experience to the Plains Art Museum,” said Interim Director, Mark Henze. “We are thrilled to have her lead our institution going forward! We look forward to working with her as the Museum enters its next chapter.”

Shapiro’s appointment comes at an exciting time for the Plains Art Museum. The museum is currently in the midst of a major expansion project, which will double the museum’s size and add new galleries, classrooms, and event spaces. The museum is also expanding its programming to reach new audiences, including underserved communities.

“I am excited to join the Plains Art Museum at this pivotal moment in its history,” said Shapiro. “I am committed to working with the museum’s staff, board, and community partners to ensure that the Plains Art Museum continues to be a vital cultural resource for the Fargo-Moorhead region.”