George Kinghorn Stepping Down?

April 20, 2007 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Rumors abound that George Kinghorn, the executive Director of the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art (JMOCA) has asked to resume his former position as Curator of Exhibits and that the JMOCA board initiate a search to replace him as executive director. Sources cite the increased stress and administrative nature of the position, which has taken Kinghorn away from his true passion curating exhibits.If so, it will be a singular development in the turbulent history of the oft named, and locally venerated institution.

Originally the Jacksonville Art Museum, the organization changed direction when it lost its Ira Koger sponsored home on the southside in the chaos preceding the eccentric millionaire's demise.

Photo studio owner Jane Craven took leadership of the organization hiring George while the 'museum' was little more than an office in riverside and a collection being stored at the Cummer Museum.

Craven and Kinghorn put together the necessary financial backing and board in order to resurrect the institution in its present downtown location under the aegis of local gazillionaire, Preston Haskell as the newly minted Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art.

In a shakeup still opaque to the community at large, Craven resigned from the board and George Kinghorn was appointed as the executive director after a series of masterful moves on his part restoring the credibility of the Museum as a museum rather than simply a gallery with an admission ticket.

These moves included establishing an educational program as well as several noted exhibitions bringing him near universal credit.

Soon after becoming chief executive, Kinghorn led the move to rename and refocus the mission of the institution as a Museum of Contemporary Art, which gave the organization a shot at acquiring both a respectable collection as well as an active role in the development a current art movement.

Seemingly no sooner than the new signs went up, Kinghorn announced his wish to return to his previous role, according to inside sources. 

If true, the move back downward is a surprise to most in the Jacksonville Art Community and it will be interesting to see who Kinghorn's replacement will be.