Telfair Museums announced Wednesday that Lisa Grove will be leaving her position as director/CEO at the end of the month to join the Obama Foundation and its Obama Presidential Center to be built in Chicago.
“After six-and-a-half wonderful years here, I’m eager to take on this unique and challenging position of building a national museum from the ground up,” Grove said in an emailed statement.
Since joining Telfair Museums in January 2012, Grove led the museum to elevated national recognition, garnering multiple national, regional and local awards for exhibitions and programs, said spokeswoman Vicki Scharfberg. She spearheaded the major project "Slavery and Freedom in Savannah," a multi-year scholarly initiative researching the rare urban slave quarters located on the site of one of Telfair’s historic properties.
Grove said leading the museum through the recent period of growth and stability has been an honor and she is incredibly proud of what the team has accomplished.
"Telfair has presented a diverse lineup of world-class exhibitions and education programs that have contributed to the vibrant quality of life we all enjoy and enriched the lives of the hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world," she said.
"I am confident that Telfair Museums, with its rich history, strong collection, and devoted supporters, will continue to be a cultural leader in our community and nationwide."
Grove also oversaw the launch of an annual series of contemporary art exhibitions that explores issues of race in America. Grove strengthened the museum’s ties to the local community, expanding educational outreach programs and launching the #art912 initiative highlighting the work of local artists. Grove also raised record amounts of funding during her tenure, producing six consecutive years of operating surpluses while increasing the overall budget by 25 percent.
"I am grateful to you, our members, for making Telfair Museums a priority. Your support makes it possible for us to offer programs that enhance the quality of life in our community. A strong membership ensures that the oldest public art museum in the South will serve Savannah and beyond for years to come," she said.
Telfair Museums has formed a search committee to begin the process of recruiting the next director/CEO.