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Open forums set for finalists for South Dakota Art Museum director position

Finalists for the position of director of the South Dakota Art Museum will interview for the position in the next two weeks.

The interviews will also include open forums for each individual to engage with key industry, community and university stakeholders.

The candidates, in order of interview date, are:

Susan Barrett, finalist for South Dakota Art Museum director 2021
Susan Barnett

Susan Barnett

She recently served as curator of the Yellowstone Art Museum and Erie Art Museum, and worked for 15 years in the Milwaukee area at institutions such as the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Cedarburg Cultural Center and Milwaukee Art Museum.

Barnett will interview March 9. Her open forum starts at 1 p.m. and is available via Barnett Zoom.

Her experience includes serving as executive director for two museums, founding a gallery and framing business, and working as a writer and nonprofit board consultant.

Barnett earned an M.A. in art history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a B.A. in fine art–printmaking from Montana State University.



Mark Zimmerman, finalist for South Dakota Art Museum director 2021
Mark Zimmerman

Mark Zimmerman

Formerly the Milwaukee Art Museum’s deputy director, Zimmerman will interview March 10. His open forum starts at 1 p.m. and is available via Zimmerman Zoom.

As the deputy director, Zimmerman oversaw the museum incorporate a 1,200-space parking garage and tenant pavilion rebranded as Museum Center Park. He also contributed to the museum's 2020 strategic plan initiative.

After a 15-year career with Westin Hotels & Resorts that saw him work on four continents, he was the director of administration at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City as the museum completed a $200-million campus transformation project that added a parking garage, the Bloch Building and doubled education space.

He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and an MBA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


Donna Merkt, South Dakota Art Museum director finalist 2021
Donna Merkt

Donna Merkt
Currently serving as the director of museum experience at Oklahoma City’s Gaylord-Pickens Museum, home of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, Merkt will interview March 11. Her open forum starts at 1 p.m. and is available via Merkt Zoom.

She leads the Gaylord-Pickens Museum staff responsible for education programming and outreach, special and permanent exhibitions, archives and collections. Merkt was the curator of education at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art from 2008 to 2019 on the campus of St. Gregory’s University/Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Merkt spearheaded the introduction of Visual Thinking Strategies in Oklahoma and is honored to be a member of the first class of certified VTS facilitators internationally.

She is the Mountain Plains Regional Representative for the American Alliance of Museums Education Committee. A member of the Mountain-Plains Museums Association board, Merkt is chair of the education committee and a member of the finance and governance committees.

Merkt received her BFA degree from Cameron University and a Master of Art in art history from the University of Oklahoma.


Jodi Lundgren, finalist for South Dakota Art Museum director 2021 search
Jodi Lundgren

Jodi Lundgren

The South Dakota Art Museum’s interim director, Lundgren will interview March 15. Her open forum starts at 1 p.m. and is available via Lundgren Zoom.

Lundgren has served as the museum’s coordinator of exhibitions since 2013, being responsible for all of the exhibition content for the museum’s galleries. She has brought new artistic genres and media into the museum and curated the immensely popular “Harvey Dunn: The Complete Collection.”

For nine years, she worked in the curatorial department of the Visual Arts Center of the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls.

Lundgren has a BFA degree in studio art with a painting emphasis and a second major in psychology from the University of South Dakota. She has a museum management certificate and is working toward a graduate certificate in nonprofit management and also becoming a certified fundraising executive.