Visual Arts
5:27 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Kemper Founders Step Down From Museum Board

The founders of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art are stepping down from museum leadership.

Crosby and Bebe Kemper announced Tuesday they would no longer serve on the museum’s board of trustees. Their daughter, Mary Kemper Wolf, a filmmaker, was named chairman of the board effective immediately.

A statement released by the museum shared the founders' thoughts:

“The Museum is a great love of mine, and this puts the institution in a position of strength as it approaches its 20th anniversary in 2014,” said Crosby Kemper. “Mary shares my passion for art, and I am confident she will thoughtfully and successfully lead the Museum.”

Bebe Kemper said, “I am grateful to have had a role in building this institution from its start and know Mary will continue to strengthen its legacy in Kansas City and beyond. As a filmmaker herself, Mary will champion the role of the artist at the Kemper Museum for many years to come.”

Both Kempers have served on the board since 1995, Crosby Kemper as chairman and Bebe  Kemper as a member. The Board named Mr. Kemper as chairman emeritus and Mrs. Kemper as trustee emerita. Sons Sandy Kemper and Mariner Kemper also joined the 7-member board of trustees.

Community leaders comprise a 5-member board of directors.

In related news, Shirley Helzberg was named chair of the 20-member Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art board of trustees. A civic leader and arts patron, Helzberg will succeed Sarah Rowland, who served four years as chair. Rowland plans to remain on the board.

“We are delighted to welcome Mrs. Helzberg to this important role, and we know she will lead the Nelson-Atkins into the future, with ever-increasing community engagement,” said museum Director & CEO Julián Zugazagoitia in a statement. “This is a transition that builds on the great legacy of Sarah Rowland and that continues the Board of Trustees governance at the highest level.”