Connie Wolf became the John and Jill Freidenrich Director of the Cantor Arts Center on January 1, 2012. After graduating from Stanford, where her degree was in East Asian studies, she worked at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and then was at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, working on a comparative study of arts education in the U.S. and China. She was a Jacob Javits Fellow in photography at the California Institute of the Arts and also worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She was then a Research Associate and Warren Weaver Fellow in the Rockefeller Foundation’s arts and humanities division. She went on to an appointment as Associate Director and Helena Rubinstein Curator of Education at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
In 1999, Wolf became director and CEO of San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum, where she established an exemplary record of drive and innovation. Under her leadership, a small community-based organization was elevated into a major institution with a new building. She oversaw the development and presentation of a robust contemporary exhibition program. Commissioning the work of artists was a constant feature throughout her exhibitions, and she greatly expanded the Museum’s focus on education.
Wolf arrives at Stanford at a transformative time for the arts on campus, as the university develops its new arts district with the Cantor Arts Center at its core. The Cantor was founded in 1891 as part of the original plan for the university. The Cantor is an encyclopedic museum with extensive collections of art from Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe, from ancient times to the present. It also includes one of the largest presentations of works by Auguste Rodin outside Paris. In her new position, Wolf is working to make the museum and the arts a more integral part of the learning experience for students, developing innovative interdisciplinary initiatives, and building the collection to be a more vital resource for research and teaching.