TAMPA, FL – The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA) is proud to announce the appointments of Wendy Leigh and Robin O’Dell as the museum’s new co-leaders, as executive consultant and executive curator, respectively. These two accomplished art professionals bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the museum and will work together to further the organization’s success.
Leigh has had a unique and successful career trajectory, spanning education, entertainment, arts, community engagement, marketing, public relations, placemaking, and development. She holds degrees in both education and theater, and she has won several awards throughout her career for her outstanding service to the arts. Leigh has previously worked as the CEO and executive director of the Franciscan Center in Tampa. Leigh’s impressive track record includes the launching of three new spaces – the LOFT Theatre, Shimberg Playhouse, and Patel Conservatory, along with her more than 20 years of service at the Straz Center as VP of Education. Under her leadership, Leigh brought the organization to full accreditation, and spearheaded the Straz’s diversity initiative, while also building 30 valuable partnerships with organizations in the community.
Leigh’s forte is creativity, placemaking, connecting people, and significantly raising awareness for organizations. Leigh plans to bring her skills and experience to FMoPA and increase awareness and long-term visibility to the museum.
“An opportunity to expand my palette in the art world is always intriguing and satisfying. And, of course, opening a new space from the ground up is my favorite blank canvas. Filling buildings with vibrancy, art and life-changing experiences is a feeling second to none,” Leigh said. “Theater lends itself so perfectly to collaboration, that blending lifelong colleagues, especially working with Robin, along with working with new talented professionals is fantastically engaging and spurs even more creativity.”
O’Dell brings more than 20 years of experience in the art world to her new role as co-leader, including 15 years at the renowned Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg where she held the role of curator of photography. Other institutions she has worked with include the Keith Haring Archive in New York, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, and the Tampa Museum of Art, among others. O’Dell has participated in the curation of over 60 exhibitions at multiple institutions including the recent “Bruce Davidson: New York” and “Sea to Shining Sea: Photographs from the Permanent Collection,” while acting as curator of collections at FMoPA from 2019 until June of last year.
“I am honored to help lead the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts into its newest chapter. I am eager to work with Wendy and all the talented staff and dedicated board members to further the Museum’s mission and engage with the community,” said O’Dell. “The new space in Ybor City is especially exciting, not just because of its prime location right on 7th Avenue, but also because of the pivotal role we hope to play in the renaissance of the arts scene in this area. I look forward to returning to FMoPA and leading the institution towards a bright and exciting future.”
O’Dell’s strengths include creativity, team building, community engagement, and deep knowledge of best museum practices.
“Our leadership team is exceptional and will work together wonderfully to help this Tampa Bay cultural gem reach its full potential and keep leveling up,” said museum Board Chairman Alexis Muellner, editor-in-chief of the Tampa Bay Business Journal. “In our new Ybor City location, we have a wonderful opportunity to anchor a blossoming arts infrastructure, and with Wendy and Robin, and our terrific staff at the helm, great things are ahead.”
Both Leigh and O’Dell join the museum’s dedicated and talented staff as FMoPA begins its next chapter in its new street-level location in the heart of Ybor City, set to open soon.
For more information about the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, visit www.fmopa.org
Read the full biographies and outlook of Wendy Leigh and Robin O’Dell: https://fmopa.ac-page.com/leadership
For media inquiries, please contact Lucas Campoe at Communications@fmopa.org
About the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts
Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA) is dedicated to exhibiting important photographic art as central to contemporary life and culture. FMoPA also enriches the community by operating outreach programs to educate children and adults. FMoPA is one of fewer than 10 museums in the United States dedicated exclusively to photography and one of two such museums in Florida. In addition, the museum is home to high-impact community programs such as the Children’s Literacy Through Photography program for at-risk children and adult photography classes, workshops, and children’s summer camps. FMOPA’s upcoming move to historic Ybor City promises growth and a new and dynamic environment to showcase its extensive collection and host exhibitions from acclaimed photographers.
For more information, please visit www.fmopa.org.