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PAMM Director Leaving to Head Philly's Barnes Foundation

Alicia Zuckerman

The museum director who helped usher in one of the most significant changes in South Florida's arts scene is leaving the Sunshine State to return to his roots.

Thom Collins is giving up his position as director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) to lead the acclaimed Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

Collins took the helm of the former Miami Art Museum in 2010.  The controversial re-naming of the museum  -- thanks to a $35 million donation of cash and art from real estate mogul Jorge Perez -- occurred during Collins' tenure.

He also oversaw construction of the museum's new bayfront digs in downtown Miami, designed by architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron.

Collins is a Philadelphia native who spent his childhood visiting the Barnes Foundation, which boasts one of the world’s most extensive private collections of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings.  

PAMM is launching an international search for a new director to replace Collins, who formally steps down in March. PAMM trustee Dennis Scholl, the vice president of arts for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will head the committee searching for the new director and Leann Standish, PAMM deputy director for external affairs, will serve as interim director following Collins’ departure.

Years ago, after racking her brains trying to find a fun, engaging, creative night gig to subsidize her acting habit, Chris decided to ride her commercial voiceover experience into the fast-paced world of radio broadcasting. She started out with traffic reporting, moved on to news -- and never looked back. Since then, Chris has worked in newsrooms throughout South Florida, producing stories for radio broadcasts and the web.