From public relations and marketing to the director of operations, the Triton Museum of Art’s interim Executive Director Jill Meyers has done every job in her 22 years with the museum. And now that former Executive Director George Rivera has retired, she’s ready to take over as the head of the Santa Clara museum.
Rivera always knew he wanted Meyers to be his successor, and primed her for the position during the years they worked side-by-side at the Triton. Meyers says Rivera mentored her and slowly introduced her to all of the tasks involved with running the museum so that by the time he left, she knew exactly where to step in. “She understands the role that everybody has on the team because she has worked in every role at that museum in a very similar manner as I did – working my way up, and all along the way developing the trust of the team and professional contacts,” said Rivera. “She’s very well trusted and well respected by her colleagues.”
Since stepping into Rivera’s shoes, Meyers has already made a few well-received changes to museum operations. The Triton just finished its second Coffee with the Curator, a program that serves the artists in the community by allowing them to feel connected to the museum. It’s “an interactive, social time where they can ask [Chief Curator] Preston [Metcalf] questions,” listen to a guest artist speak, or “come and interact,” said Meyers. The first two Coffee with the Curator events saw high attendance numbers and the Triton hopes to continue the program by offering a lunchtime alternative. Meyers also hopes to reach the long-standing goal of expanding the museum’s Family Day events – from three times a year to once a month. Additionally, she wants to work with the business community to develop corporate support to expand the museum’s programs and offerings and to remain a community-based art hub.
“Or logo is Triton Museum – art, education, and community,” said Meyers. “Every program that we do, every exhibition that we show, we consider the community in that. We don’t really do anything without thinking about where the community is fitting with art and education. We do believe in that because who are we here for if it’s not for the community? I truly do believe that we’re only here because of the community. That’s what it’s all about… One of the things that makes us so special is that we want to be the museum where you can come to and ask questions. I think a lot of museums can be intimidating to a lot of people.”
While the board of directors mulls over other candidates before making a final decision, Rivera and the museum staff are campaigning for Meyers to officially take over.
“I’m so strong about Jill,” said Rivera. “She understands the role that everybody has on the team because she has worked in every role at that museum in a very similar manner as I did…She is so ready for this… If Jill in my opinion wasn’t the best candidate I wouldn’t have pushed so hard for her… I always knew at some point there would be an opportunity and you would see what she was capable of. I’ve seen what’s possible and so I hope she’s given the opportunity.”