Placed Leaders

Sarah Jesse

Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director

University of Rochester Memorial Art Gallery

We partnered with the University of Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery on the search for a Director. The Memorial Art Gallery offers a panorama of the world’s art from the relics of antiquity to works in the vanguard of contemporary practice.

Our work resulted in the recruitment of Sarah Jesse to the role.

Jesse joins the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester from the Academy Art Museum (AAM) where she served as Director. During her time at AAM, she eliminated the admission fee, diversified the exhibition schedule, grew membership and attendance, and secured one of the largest gifts in the institution’s history for the development of a collection storage annex.

Jesse was previously Deputy Director and, for an interim period, CEO/Director of the Orange County Museum of Art, where she oversaw programming and operations of a 53,000 square foot space during construction of the museum’s permanent home. Prior, she served as Associate Vice President of Education at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where she was responsible for intergenerational, youth, student, teacher, and community programs that impacted over 500,000 people annually and ran the museum’s satellite gallery. She also served as the Bernsen Director of Education and Public Programs at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the Assistant Director of Public Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Over her 20-year career in art museums, Jesse has focused on eliminating barriers to access and facilitating transformational cultural experiences for diverse audiences. She was chair of the Education Committee of the American Alliance of Museums from 2014-2016 and has presented on best practices for museum engagement in the United States, China, and Italy.

Jesse received a BA in Art History from Oberlin College. She earned an MA in Art History from the University of Illinois at Chicago.