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National Gallery of Art Names Darren Walker Trustee, Mitchell Rales Appointed President

Darren Walker

Darren Walker.


Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation, has been elected to the board of trustees at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and ARTnews Top 200 collector Mitchell Rales, who cofounded the Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland, has been appointed as president of the institution. Rales succeeds Frederick Beinecke, who served as president of the museum since 2014 and is now trustee emeritus.

Prior to joining the Ford Foundation, a New York–based organization that offers grants to projects dealing with inequities of various kinds, Walker was vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation. He currently co-chairs New York City’s Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, and also serves on the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform and the UN International Labor Organization Global Commission on the Future of Work. Walker came under fire this week for penning a blog post in support of splitting up Rikers jail into four smaller detention centers.

In a statement, Walker said of his new role at the National Gallery of Art, “There is an incredible opportunity to build on the important legacy of this one-of-a-kind public art museum to make it even more accessible to everyone and illustrative of the complex fabric of our American democracy.”

“We look forward to working with Darren in planning for the museum’s future and broadening the scope of our mission to foster the understanding of art for our national visitors, as well as for visitors from around the world,” Rales said.

Rales, who, with his wife Emily, purchased a record-breaking $11.7 million Lee Krasner painting at Sotheby’s in May, has been a member of the museum’s board since 2006. The Raleses donated $10 million to the National Gallery of Art in 2013 for the expansion of the its East Building, and have appeared on the Top 200 list since 2010.

The National Gallery of Art also announced that Sharon Rockefeller has been reelected as chairman of the board, and that Andrew Saul, who has been a trustee since 2013, has stepped down from his position to work as U.S. Commissioner of Social Security. David Rubenstein will continue to serve as a trustee.

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