Tampa Museum of Art's Todd Smith leaving to head museum in California

The news comes on the eve of two of TMA's most ambitious exhibitions.

click to enlarge Todd Smith outside the Tampa Museum of Art. - Heidi Kurpiela
Heidi Kurpiela
Todd Smith outside the Tampa Museum of Art.

The Tampa Museum of Art announced this morning that executive director Todd D. Smith has resigned to accept a position as director and CEO of the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, Calif. 

Smith was appointed director of TMA in 2008 and oversaw the expansion of the museum into a new 66,000-square foot, $34 million building designed by architect Stanley Saitowitz. The announcement of his departure comes on the eve of the debut of two of the museum’s most ambitious exhibitions in recent years — My Generation: Young Chinese Artists, which will extend across galleries at TMA as well as the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg (opening June 7), and Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult and Daily Life, an ambitious display of classical antiquities (opening June 14). 

At OCMA, Smith will supervise a staff that includes noted curator Dan Cameron, who served as the California museum’s interim director during its search for a new chief executive. OCMA is scheduled to construct a new $60 million facility — a project that was delayed and downsized in 2011 — within the next several years.  

Smith will remain at TMA until July 3; his move to OCMA takes effect on Aug. 4. Seth Pevnick, TMA's chief curator, has been named acting director while the museum undertakes a national search for Smith's replacement.  

Via a press release, TMA board chair Debra Williams McDaniel noted that paid attendance and donor contributions to the museum increased by more than 146 percent during Smith's tenure. 

“It is a bittersweet moment for our Board to bid farewell to Todd after leading our Museum so well for nearly six years," she said. "During his tenure, he has built a very strong institution that has become known for its outstanding program of exhibitions, accessibility for all and fiscal health. Todd has taken us to new heights as a regional art museum, and we are proud of the gains we made together due to his immeasurable talent, hard work and dedication.” 

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