Anne Hawley

  • Spring 2016

Anne Hawley’s appointment as Director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1989 brought an entrepreneurial arts leader to one of the most original personal museums in the world.

Working with the the Trustees of the Gardner Museum, Hawley led the comprehensive planning, design, and $180 fundraising process for the museum’s new addition designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano which opened in January 2012.  Hawley determined that the future of the museum’s preservation and its role as a cultural center required new museum space for programs, conservation and visitor amenities.  The result is a stunning addition to the museum and an award winning work of architecture.

Under Hawley’s leadership, the legacy of the museum’s founder in patronage and innovation thrived in programs that explored new ideas and thinking across all the arts – including the widely celebrated Artist-in-Residence program, now in its 23rd year, and the popular classical music Sunday Series – and served as the basis for scholarly exhibitions and symposia, school and community partnerships, and a wide array of public and family programs.  A recently initiated program in Landscape explores challenges to the urban landscape and opportunities for landscape as a medium of design for the social, cultural, and ecological life of the city.  Hawley’s book, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: Daring by Design, describes the museum’s unique history and the process of designing the new addition with architect Renzo Piano.

Hawley serves as a trustee on the boards of Save Venice, Inc., Boston Mutual Life Insurance Co. and Fenway Alliance.  Board service previously included the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation’s National Arts Stabilization Fund, and Citizen’s Bank.  Prior to her appointment to the Gardner Museum, she served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, a state agency, and was instrumental in the passage of new laws supporting cultural life in Massachusetts, including the Cultural Education Act.  Early in her career she founded the Cultural Education Collaborative, an organization dedicated to stimulating arts public policy and arts education.

In her role as the Director of the state agency for the arts and culture in Massachusetts, she pioneered new initiatives to advance the arts in the public interest. To engage museums and performing arts organizations to commission and present the works of living artists from around the world, a New Works program funded artistic commissions. A state-wide design program funded rural planning initiatives to protect public land and small town commons; bridge design workshops for the Department of Public Works introduced state engineers to internationally renowned designers including Christian Menn who was later commissioned to design the Zakim Bridge in Boston.  Legislation was passed enabling the culture sector to participate in borrowing from the state bonding agencies that continues to assist in the financing of capital projects today. Under her leadership the state arts agency grew to the second largest arts council in the country ($23 million annually) administering the widest array of public programs from finance to international exchange.

Hawley studied music for many years and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa, a Master of Arts from George Washington University, and Honorary Doctorates from Williams College, Babson College, Emmanuel College, Emerson College, Lesley University and Montserrat College of Art.

Anne's study group met on Wednesdays at 4pm in the FDR. Her study group outline can be found here.