Crystal Bridges Promotes Don Bacigalupi to Museum President, Rod Bigelow to Director

The board of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art on Tuesday announced top leadership changes: Don Bacigalupi has been promoted to the newly created position of museum president, and Rod Bigelow, the museum's deputy director for operations and administration, is taking Bacigalupi's post as executive director.

In addition, Bacigalupi has been named to a seat on the board of directors of the Bentonville museum.

The promotions, which were made by the board and by board Chairman Alice Walton, are effective immediately, the museum said in a news release.

"In his newly expanded role, Bacigalupi will serve as a member of the board of directors and will advance the Museum’s national and global special initiatives and work closely with the board and staff leadership. Bigelow will assume oversight for day-to-day operations of the Museum," the release stated.

"Don was the right director at the right time," Walton said in the museum statement. "The success we have enjoyed during the course of the past three years has been directly attributable to his leadership—in getting the building open and creating a successful inaugural year, surpassing all expectations.

"As important, he has created a first-rate and highly effective leadership team, prepared to advance Crystal Bridges' strategic plan and keep the momentum going into our second year of operation and beyond. In his new role, he is poised to take us to even greater accomplishments.

"Rod’s leadership in Museum operations and his unique experience with Crystal Bridges has earned the board’s trust," Walton said. "His growth in our organization has readied him for a more senior position at this exciting point in the Museum’s development. The board feels these promotions are essential and perfectly timed for the organization."

Bacigalupi, who previously was president, director and CEO of the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, joined Crystal Bridges in 2009.

"I look forward to this additional challenge of taking the Museum to even greater heights through the implementation of our strategic plan, which is full of exciting initiatives that will further position Crystal Bridges as a catalyst in the world discussion about American art," Bacigalupi said.

Bigelow had been the deputy director of operations and administration at Crystal Bridges since 2010, overseeing the areas of finance, facilities, grounds and trails, IT, security, human resources, culinary and retail activities. Bigelow formerly was chief operating officer and interim executive director at the Toledo Museum of Art and also previously had served as chief financial officer and interim executive director at the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington.

"I’ve never felt more prepared to take on a new challenge as I do with this role at Crystal Bridges,” said Bigelow. “I’m grateful to the board for their vote of confidence and look forward to maintaining our amazing momentum and working even more closely with Crystal Bridges’ leadership to advance the Museum’s goals and objectives."

Sandy Edwards, who has been with Crystal Bridges almost from the beginning, remains as deputy director. Tracy Cude will continue to serve as chief financial officer, reporting to the executive director in addition to serving as project manager for the national and global special initiatives, reporting to the president.