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Longtime Boca Raton Museum of Art executive director announces retirement

Irvin Lippman, the longtime Boca Raton Museum of Art executive director, is retiring, the museum announced.
Courtesy of Boca Raton Museum of Art
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Miami Herald
Irvin Lippman, the longtime Boca Raton Museum of Art executive director, is retiring, the museum announced.

In 2014, Irvin Lippman came out of retirement to temporarily run the Boca Raton Museum of Art as an interim director. The brief stint turned into 10 years.

On Monday, the museum announced the Lippman, the executive director, is retiring once again. The museum Board of Trustees has begun a search for the next executive director.

Lippman will serve as executive director for the next 12 months, culminating in the museum’s 75th anniversary and its “Baroque Spain” exhibition that features legendary artists like El Greco, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and Diego Velázquez. The exhibition will coincide with the city of Boca Raton’s 100th anniversary.

Museum Chair Jody Harrison Grass thanked Lippman for his work and achievements. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, it has been a privilege to work with Irvin, who has fostered a wonderful camaraderie with the staff and Board,” she said in a statement. “His visionary leadership has propelled the Museum’s growth and role in serving a continually expanding community.”

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Lippman earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Denver and a masters degree in art history from the University of Texas at Austin. He started his museum career in 1975 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in the education department. He later worked as the public affairs manager and assistant director of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1994, he became the executive director of the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio until took a sabbatical in Berlin in 2002.

In 2003, he came to South Florida to served as executive director of the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale until he retired — for the first time — in 2012 and returned to Texas. That was until 2014 when he came out of retirement to run the Boca Raton Museum of Art as interim director and then executive director.

The museum underwent significant renovations to update its building under Lippman’s leadership. A loading dock gate was transformed into a 75-foot structure that shows into the museum and the viewer’s reflection. The museum opened its Ohnell Sculpture Garden to display outdoor art and murals. The museum also revamped its public areas and added three new galleries.

"Leading the Boca Raton Museum of Art has been a capstone to a career that began in the National Gallery of Art education department in 1975,” Lippman said in a statement. “Over the past 50 years, it has been my pleasure to contribute to the vital cultural resource that museums represent. I commend my colleagues and our dedicated Board of Trustees for their unwavering commitment to the arts.”

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This story was produced with financial support from The Pérez Family Foundation, in partnership with Journalism Funding Partners, as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The Miami Herald maintains full editorial control of this work.

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