With regret and deep affection, the Board of Directors of the Griffin Museum of Photography announces the planned retirement of Paula Tognarelli as Executive Director and Curator effective at the end of 2021. Paula joined the Griffin as Deputy Director in 2001 and became the Executive Director and Curator in 2006.
Arthur Griffin founded the Griffin Museum of Photography to promote an appreciation of photographic art as an art form and to provide a broad understanding of the visual, emotional and social impact photography has had in New England. During Paula’s tenure, she not only met Arthur’s goal through exhibitions, programs and lectures, but she expanded the Griffin’s reach such that it is known nationally and internationally within the photographic community. Quite simply, due to Paula’s leadership and vision the Griffin Museum of Photography has become an epicenter of photography.
As photography changed and developed over the past two decades, Paula successfully steered the Griffin through challenging times with her steady, intelligent administrative leadership and her exceptional artistic vision. Thanks to Paula, the Griffin has thrived while other similar institutions have disappeared or downsized. Paula is one of those unique leaders who can balance budgets, modernize a museum’s financial systems and IT infrastructure, and at the same time curate outstanding exhibitions that are timely and thought provoking. She traditionally organized 54 exhibitions every year!
During her tenure, the Griffin’s exhibitions have jumpstarted careers, broadened the reach of successful photographers and provided the viewing public with opportunities to ponder the visual, emotional and social impact of photography. Some examples of Paula’s favorite exhibitions include Humankind, Bullet Points, David Prifti, Holly Roberts: 33 Years, Jerry Takigawa’s False Foods and the upcoming Lou Jones’ exhibition distressed:memories.
Paula has done thousands of portfolio reviews in all corners of the world that have helped to guide photographers in reaching their goals and pursuing their passions. At the same time she humanized the Griffin Museum of Photography beyond being an institution, just as Arthur Griffin did with his photographs. Photographers around the world consider the Griffin an important venue for photography, and this fame is a direct result of Paula’s devotion to photography and to photographers.
The Griffin is at its heart a Winchester institution. Paula continuously forged deep connections with the local community through programs like Photosynthesis and by bringing The Photoville Fence to the town. It is no surprise that the Winchester Rotary honored Paula with a Paul Harris Fellowship Award for “Service Above Self.” Paula also worked around the limits of the Griffin’s Winchester suburban location by establishing satellite galleries that opened up more exhibition opportunities for photographers. The Board of Directors thanks Paula for all her stellar work and offers its best wishes for her well deserved retirement. We will miss her tremendously.
The Board of Directors of the Griffin Museum of Photography has formed a transition committee to select our next Executive Director, soliciting applications from both internal and external candidates.