ICP: Willis E. Hartshorn steps down
Willis E. Hartshorn © Suzanne Opton
The International Center of Photography (ICP) announced today that Willis E. Hartshorn, its Ehrenkranz Director, has informed ICP's Board of Trustees of his desire, for health reasons, to transition to a different full-time executive role in the institution. Consequently, ICP's Board has formed a Search Committee which has retained Russell Reynolds Associates to conduct an international search for a new Director to lead the institution. Mr. Hartshorn, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, will continue in his current role until his successor is in place. He then will concentrate on initiatives associated with the strategic direction of ICP.
Known as Buzz, Mr. Hartshorn joined the ICP staff in 1982 and has held numerous positions, including Coordinator of Traveling Exhibitions, Director of Exhibitions and Deputy Director for Programs, before being named Director in 1994. Mr. Hartshorn recently led an initiative to articulate the future of ICP and envision steps toward maintaining the institution’s continued preeminence in its field.
“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to build on the legacy of Cornell Capa, working with a talented staff and engaged Board,” Mr. Hartshorn said. “I particularly appreciate their support, as I look ahead to continuing to serve the institution in new capacities.”
During Mr. Hartshorn’s tenure, the institution has seen unprecedented growth and stability. Mr. Hartshorn led the organization through its first capital campaign and raised more than $20 million in 2001 to move ICP from 94th Street to its current dual sites at 43rd and Avenue of the Americas. ICP’s endowment has grown from $700,000 to $11 million since he became Director, and its level of activity has increased as reflected in its annual operating budget, which has risen from $6.5 million in 1995 to $17 million in the last completed fiscal year, 2010, with consistently balanced budgets. Most recently, Mr. Hartshorn directed the planning process that envisions a facility that would enhance integration of the exhibition, collection and education programs.
"Leadership counts, and ICP's leadership begins with Buzz," said Jeffrey A. Rosen, President of the ICP Board of Trustees. "Buzz and his team have led ICP from strength to strength throughout his 17-year tenure, from its exhibition programs, to its greatly increased endowment, to the breadth and depth of its educational programs and the photography talent trained by ICP, to its leading position in the world of photography. All are a testament to his legacy."
"The respect for Buzz and his stature within ICP and in the photography community at large are matched by the affection in which he is held by all who know him and who have worked with him," said Caryl Englander, Chair of the ICP Board of Trustees. "His leadership and vision have made a significant contribution to the evolving and important role of photography in the world of the arts and of journalism. I am delighted he will continue with ICP after his successor is in place."
Under Mr. Hartshorn’s leadership, the institution more than tripled its exhibition and education programs, with 100 full-time staff and 150 adjunct faculty. The education offerings expanded to serve more than 6,000 students annually, with full-time programs in Photojournalism and General Studies. In 2003 the ICP-Bard Program in Advanced Photographic Studies was initiated as a partnership between the International Center of Photography and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.
Outreach to underserved youth through Community Programs has increased by approximately 45% in the past five years, receiving recognition from the President’s Council on the Arts. The collection has doubled to total more than 100,000 photographs that span three centuries, including the recently acquired archive of Roman Vishniac, as well as those of Weegee, Cornell Capa and Robert Capa. The library has grown to a collection of more than 22,000 volumes, and the Publications Program has received more than fifteen international awards for scholarly excellence.
Willis E. Hartshorn: A Brief Biography
Willis Hartshorn studied at the University of Rochester and received his MFA in Photographic Studies from the Visual Studies Workshop/SUNY Buffalo. He was a curatorial assistant at the International Museum of Photography/George Eastman House, Rochester, before starting his career at ICP. His photographs have been shown in individual and group exhibitions since 1973, and he has been the recipient of two NEA photography fellowships. Among the major exhibitions he has curated for ICP are Czech Modernism: 1918-1945 (with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1989); Annie Leibovitz: Photographs 1970-1990 (with The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.); Man Ray/Bazaar Years: A Retrospective (1990); and 11 exhibitions in the “New Directions” series, including Two to Tango: Collaboration in Recent American Photography and Art & Advertising: Commercial Photography by Artists. For more than a decade, he taught at all levels of ICP’s education program. He has been on the Vera List Center Advisory Committee of the New School, and on the Board of the Museum Association of New York (MANY). He is a long-standing member of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD).