Cheekwood welcomes James W. Tottis as its new Vice President of Museum Affairs. Tottis comes to Cheekwood having spent 24 years as a curator in the Department of American Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. During his tenure, he was responsible for several significant exhibitions _ including _Life’s Pleasures: The Ashcan Artists’ Brush with Leisure, 1895-1925; American Beauty: Paintings and Sculpture from The Detroit Institute of Arts 1770 – 1920; and From Hudson River to Impressionism: American Paintings from the Manoogian Collection. Tottis was also responsible for numerous important acquisitions at the Detroit Institute, some of which were included in the museum’s scholarly bulletin, “Twenty Years of Collecting American Furniture and Decorative Arts 1984-2004 at The Detroit Institute of Arts.”
Tottis who also serves as Adjunct Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs at the Saginaw Art Museum and Chair of the American Painting and Sculpture Vetting Committee for The Winter Antiques Show, has authored and coauthored numerous publications including, “The Guardian Building: Cathedral of Finance” and “Forging a Modern Identity: American Paintings in The Detroit Institute of Arts, Artists born after 1847, volume lll.” He has also served as Director of Collections at the Museum of the City of New York and for nearly 20 years as Adjunct Professor of Humanities at Wayne State University.
A museum consultant, Tottis has lectured widely, giving numerous presentations and panel discussions on American architecture, painting, sculpture, furniture, historic upholstery, frames, silver, art pottery glass and museum studies. He has and continues to serve on boards of arts organizations throughout the United States.
“Cheekwood is very fortunate to have a scholar and curator of Jim’s caliber as we launch new art initiatives to embrace Cheekwood’s role as Nashville’s preeminent fine arts collecting museum,” said Cheekwood’s President and CEO, Jane MacLeod.
In his new role, Tottis will serve on MacLeod’s senior leadership team and oversee all curatorial programs, including the care and enhancement of the Cheekwood Permanent Collection and the historically furnished rooms and galleries in the Cheekwood Mansion, in addition to the Ann & Monroe Carell Jr. Family Sculpture Trail.
“This an exciting period at Cheekwood and I am thrilled to join the team assembled by Jane MacLeod. The opportunity to guide the growth and evolution of the collections is immensely exciting, while also working with all stakeholders to enhance and invigorate the exhibition program,” said Tottis.
Tottis will assume his role as VP of Museum Affairs on March 2nd.