David Setford, Executive Director, Tacoma Art Museum, “Tacoma Art Museum’s Upcoming Exhibition Season: America’s Favorite Animated Family, the French Impressionists, and the WPA”
As the Executive Director of the Tacoma Art Museum, Setford brings over 30 years of experience in museums and other arts organizations in the United States and the United Kingdom as a curator, director/administrator, and fundraiser. With an entrepreneurial and community-driven approach, Setford has also been instrumental in organizing exhibitions on a diverse array of iconic artists such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Gordon Parks, Frida Kahlo, and Andrew Wyeth, as well as Northwest artists Jacob Lawrence and Dale Chihuly.
Setford came to TAM from his tenure as the Executive Director of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society and Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe, NM. His role there encompassed fundraising, community engagement, and collaborating on and raising the profile of exhibitions and programs at the museum to attract a wider cross-section of the local community as well as tourists. In addition, Setford organized three contemporary art markets for over 250 local artists, jewelers, and craftspeople, as well as significant education programs in schools, throughout the community, and at the Museum.
Setford arrived in the United States with a love for glass as a medium, and was then struck by the depth of creativity in the American Studio Glass movement. He developed a deep admiration for the work of Dale Chihuly, William Morris, Cappy Thompson, Ginny Ruffner, Toots Zynsky, Howard Ben Tré, and many others.
Over the years Setford was involved with several exhibitions by studio glass artists and, for a while, managed Artform, an innovative art fair that was mostly devoted to art by these groundbreaking artists.