Allentown's economic growth helps land art museum director

By - Last modified: October 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/
David Mickenberg, the new president and CEO of The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ David Mickenberg, the new president and CEO of The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley.

The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley hired David Mickenberg as the Priscilla Payne Hurd president and CEO. His interest in the job was spurred in part by the dramatic economic development in Downtown Allentown.

Until recently, Mickenberg was CEO of the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Va., and previously was director of university art museums at Wellesley College, Mass., and Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

The museum chose Mickenberg, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native, after conducting an international search. His appointment was unanimously approved at a special October meeting of the board of trustees.

He will relocate to the Lehigh Valley with his wife, Judy, and join the museum on Nov. 18.

Mickenberg has been a museum director for more than 30 years.

Dolores Laputka, chairwoman of the museum's board of trustees, said Mickenberg was "very excited" about Allentown's growth.

"That's actually what attracted him to us, was the activity going on downtown," Laputka said.

She said he saw the ice hockey arena being built downtown as having a positive impact – attracting visitors who would see that there are other things to do downtown, such as the museum, Miller Symphony Hall and other arts venues.

The museum's art collections and its recent completion of an expansion project also were factors in Mickenberg's decision to take the role, Laputka said.

Furthermore, the proximity of the Lehigh Valley to other areas of the state, plus the strength of the board of trustees and the level of involvement in the community, all proved to be positive incentives for Mickenberg.

Laputka said she interviewed Mickenberg extensively and was impressed with his energy and enthusiasm.

He has a lot of experience reaching out to local politicians and other groups. His successful fundraising work will strengthen the museum's financial position, she noted.

Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it. Brian also has a strong interest in health and fitness. He works part-time as a personal trainer at Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem and earned his personal fitness trainer certification from World Instructor Training Schools. He loves to run and will be competing in his first half-marathon on Nov. 23 to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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