The Board of Directors of The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford is pleased to announce the appointment of Sheila Perry as its new Executive Director. Ms Perry, who will begin her position in mid-June takes over from previous Executive Director Suzanne Greening who has left to be the Executive Director of the new Audain Gallery currently under construction in Whistler.
In January 2009, Sheila was appointed as the Director of The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery in St. John’s, Newfoundland. A native of British Columbia, she studied art history and classics at the University of Alberta. From there she went on to post-graduate work at the University of Leicester in England, receiving her Master of Museum Studies “With Commendation”. During this period she gained experience in many aspects of museum work by serving as a Curator Intern at Glasgow Museums. She gained international work experience living in Scotland and Japan until returning to Canada, where she pursued a final university degree, receiving her Master of Business Administration from the University of Alberta.
In addition to her education, Sheila also brings to The Reach a strong record of service in the museum/gallery field. From 1999 through 2002, she was the Executive Director of the Visual Arts Alberta Association, responsible for operations of the organization and in representing the interests of independent Alberta artists to government and the private sector as well as establishing the VAAA gallery in Edmonton and curating its exhibitions.
In 2002, Sheila was recruited by the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum in Mason City, Iowa, responsible for the operations of this mid-sized regional arts complex. This included financial management, acting as senior curator for all exhibitions and responsibility for all programming, special events and for retention of American Museum Association accreditation. In 2007, Perry was recruited to serve as the inaugural Superintendent (head) of the City of Calgary’s Public Art Program, which is currently one of the most active public art programs in North America.
Since leaving The Rooms in August 2013, she has been contracted by The Woodstock Art Gallery to conduct an analysis of operations, programming and space usage and to develop a business plan reporting on findings and making recommendations to address systemic barriers. The City has adopted these recommendations and a capital expansion project is currently underway.
The Board and staff of The Reach look forward to welcoming Sheila to Abbotsford and are confident that she will continue to oversee the local, national and international exhibits the community has come to expect from The Reach, one of the few Class “A” gallery-museums of its size in the country.