The Tyler Museum of Art (TMA) has announced the appointment of Caleb Bell as the museum’s next Executive Director, following the upcoming retirement of Christopher M. Leahy on June 30, 2023.
Mr. Leahy joined the museum a decade ago and brought a wealth of experience from his time working in finance and administration within art organizations. During his tenure, he improved institutional operations, grew museum membership, and achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.
In a press release, TMA Board President Suzanne Perkins stated, “We are proud of the many strides we have made together under the direction of Chris, and he will be greatly missed. Caleb has played a key role within the organization for years, and we are excited for our future under his guidance.”
Mr. Bell, who holds a BA in Public Relations & Advertising with a minor in Art History for the University of Texas at Tyler, began his time at TMA in early 2012 as the Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator. In 2014, when Ken Tomio stepped down as Curator,, Mr. Bell began assisting with exhibition planning, and two years later he was appointed Curator.
In addition to presenting group exhibitions, during his time as curator he has also organized an array of solo exhibitions by contemporary regional artists, including Helen Altman, Daniel Blagg, Abhidnya Ghuge, Letitia Huckaby, MANUAL, and Linda Ridgway. His latest project, Observations: Works by Melissa W. Miller, opens on Sunday, May 7. Beyond his curatorial duties, Mr. Bell has contributed to TMA’s educational and community outreach programming and has assisted with grant writing and fundraising efforts.
Outside of the scope of his work at the Tyler Museum of Art, Mr. Bell has also organized exhibitions at other institutions across Texas, including Women & Their Work in Austin, The Reading Room in Dallas, and the Longview Museum of Fine Arts. He has served as a juror for numerous exhibitions, including Craighead Green Gallery’s New Texas Talent XXVI. Additionally, Mr. Bell has assisted with public art projects at Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler. He currently serves on the board for the Center for the Advancement and Study of Early Texas Art (CASETA).
Additionally, Mr. Bell has written for various publications, including Glasstire, Southwest Contemporary, and Texas Highways. His writings range from interviews and profiles to exhibitions reviews and close looks at singular artworks. Most recently, Mr. Bell wrote the exhibition essay for the upcoming show IN MEMORIA: Linda Blackburn + Ed Blackburn at Site131 in Dallas.
Mr. Bell told Glasstire, “It is an honor to have been selected by our board to serve as the institution’s next Executive Director. I have been with the TMA for 11 years now and look forward to many more. The museum is a special place and I want to continue to expand its presence within our community and beyond.”
He explained that in his new role, his goal is to build upon the legacy of Mr. Leahy and to continue to grow the TMA’s impact through expanding programming “to make the TMA the place people want to be.”
Ms. Perkins remarked, “Caleb has played a key role within the organization for years, and we are excited for our future under his guidance.”
Mr. Bell will step into the role of Executive Director on July 1, 2023.