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Wendi Parson Named Chief External Affairs Officer of the Museum of Arts and Design

New York, NY (October 26, 2018)

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) today announced the appointment of Wendi Parson as its Chief External Affairs Officer, effective October 22, 2018. In this executive leadership position, Parson will spearhead marketing and communications, media and public relations, digital and social, branding and design, and visitor experience for the Museum.

"We are delighted to welcome Wendi to the Museum of Arts and Design," said Chris Scoates, MAD's Nanette L. Laitman Director. "Her multifaceted engagement with design and her outreach expertise with a variety of audiences will serve us well as we usher the Museum into the next phase of its future, helping us to pose the important questions and shape the conversation around—and direction of—art and design in the twenty-first century."

Parson brings more than twenty years of strategic communications experience within corporate, agency, academic, and not-for-profit environments. She joins MAD from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, where she served as Director of Communications and Marketing for three years. As part of the senior leadership team for "America's design museum," Parson was the principal leader charged with raising brand awareness and ensuring consistent visual identity and messaging across all communications platforms, and played a central role in shaping and implementing strategic initiatives. Additionally, for more than two years, she oversaw the visitor experience team, conducting in-depth audience evaluations and leveraging key insights to improve offerings museum-wide.

Prior to joining Cooper Hewitt, Parson lent her expertise to leading organizations in the design and innovation sectors, including the New York University Tandon School of Engineering; Smart Design, an award-winning strategic design consultancy; and the Design Trust for Public Space's Taxi 07, a project that celebrated the centennial of New York City's iconic yellow taxicab. As a Vice President at boutique public relations agency Rubenstein Communications, she collaborated with BMW Group to promote a North American tour of the BMW Art Car Collection, and to introduce the 2010 BMW Art Car by contemporary artist Jeff Koons.

Previously, Parson worked for ten years within Detroit's automotive industry, in communications posts at both General Motors and Ford Motor Company, notably supporting the GM Design organization and product launch activities at Ford. Parson holds a Master's in the History of Decorative Arts and Design, a program offered jointly by Parsons School of Design and Cooper Hewitt, and a Bachelor's in Journalism from Michigan State University.

"I am thrilled to join the stellar team at MAD—and its vibrant community of makers, designers, artists, scholars, enthusiasts, and supporters—at this pivotal moment in the Museum's history," said Parson. "I look forward to helping extend the reach and influence of MAD's exhibitions, collection, and education programs, and to engaging new, diverse audiences, both locally and globally."


The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields and presents the work of artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill. Since the Museum's founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum's curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving twenty-first-century innovation, and fosters a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design.

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