Director Leaving OCMA After a Decade

Dennis Szakacs will leave his post of 10 years at the Orange County Museum of Art in December.

Dennis Szakacs (Photo courtesy OCMA)
Dennis Szakacs (Photo courtesy OCMA)
The director and chief executive officer of the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach will leave his post at the end of the year, according to museum officials.

On Thursday Dennis Szakacs announced his resignation from OCMA effective Dec. 31. Szakacs has been the museum's director and chief executive officer since 2003 and will continue to be available as a consultant to the museum through the middle of next year.

“I’ve had a fantastic decade at the museum building OCMA’s exhibition program to international prominence, strengthening the collection, increasing access to visual arts education and raising the support and visibility for modern and contemporary art in our community," Szakacs said in a statement. "It’s now time for me to explore new opportunities.”

Museum officials said many milestones have been reached during Szakacs' tenure, including increasing the museum's annual budget from $2.5 million to nearly $5 million and helping grow its endowment from $7 million to $11 million. Under Szakac 15 OCMA-organized exhibitions traveled to 37 museums across the U.S. and abroad.

Craig Wells, OCMA's president and board chair, said the contributions Szakac has made to the museum have elevated OCMA and brought it closer to becoming a "destination museum that is locally relevant and internationally significant."

"His artistic integrity, entrepreneurial thinking and public engagement have helped propel us to where we are today and set our direction for the next decade and beyond," Wells said.

The OCMA board formed a search committee and retained Heidrick & Struggles to conduct a search for its next director and chief executive.

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