The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York


Neil Watson steps down as executive director of the Katonah Museum of Art

Katonah Museum of Art director Neil Watson in 2009. The museum announced that he will be stepping down from his post.


The board of trustees of the Katonah Museum of Art announced on Tuesday that executive director Neil Watson will be stepping down this November after nearly eight years of leading the institution.

“During his tenure, Mr. Watson served as a strong advocate and raised the profile of the museum in the art community,” said trustee Rochelle Rosenberg in a statement on Tuesday. “He oversaw critically acclaimed exhibitions and stewarded the expansion of the Katonah Museum of Art’s award-winning educational outreach and innovative family programs.”

Museum communications manager Sarah Marshall did not provide information as to what led to the decision, referring email questions to Ms. Rosenberg. Ms. Rosenberg did not respond by press time.

Mr. Watson joined the museum in 2005. “I’ve been here almost eight years, I started in March 2005,” Mr. Watson said on Tuesday. “I’ve resigned, I’m moving on, I don’t know where I’m going, I’m just going to take some time, and cook, and kind of sit back. The economic upheaval of the last four years has put a lot of pressure on many, many, many people in all parts of the economy.”

Mr. Watson also declined to state any specific reason for his departure. “No, only the fact that working in any place like the Katonah Museum of Art during a boom economy is a lot easier,” he said. “What I go back to is how much I’ve loved being here. As far as why I’m going, I really can’t and I actually don’t want to comment on that, other than that I’m moving on, and I really want the best for these people. I just have to say that the staff here, I couldn’t ask for better. I feel fortunate.”

Mr. Watson replaced Susan Edwards in 2005 as the museum’s director. He came to the Katonah Museum of Art after leaving the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, where he had been executive director since 2003. Prior to that, he was the chief curator of the Museum of Glass at the International Center for Contemporary Art in Tacoma, Wash., and the curator of the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“I think I can bring my experience and openness when talking to people about ideas for projects and installations,” said Mr. Watson at the time of his hiring. “There is a pretty broad internal integrity at the museum.”

Mr. Watson said he likes working with art from many different cultures and eras because it presents a lot of different ideas about art. “Museums are not galleries; they are here to educate. There is an aesthetic that happens, but the mission overall is to educate.”

Mr. Watson has a B.F.A. degree in printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design, but has tried his hand at painting and graphic design as well. Mr. Watson’s wife, Jude, is a renowned children’s author, and they have one daughter, Cleo.

At the time of his hiring, museum board member Yvonne Pollack said, “He is just exactly right for us, a perfect fit,” she said. “He’s collegial, collaborative, innovative, and he’s going to be fun to work with.”

During his time at the helm of the museum, Mr. Watson presented exhibits that included “Drawn/Taped/Burned: Abstraction on Paper,” “Mapping: Memory and Motion in Contemporary Art,” and “Conversations in Clay,” among others. The museum’s highly acclaimed exhibit, “Rising Dragon: Contemporary Chinese Photography,” garnered rave reviews, exploring present-day Chinese art and the country’s modernization.

Along with art on the walls — and statues in the garden — Mr. Watson initiated the museum’s Crosstalk series, bringing panelists of diverse expertise together onstage; launched John Scofield’s “Shades of Jazz” music series; and worked with local groups like Neighbors Link in cross-cultural endeavors, as well as shepherding numerous programs for children at the museum.

“I’m kind of happy not to be involved for a little bit,” Mr. Watson said this week. “Other than that, that’s pretty much all I can say. I’m very fond of this museum, I’m still working on a portrait show, I’m acquiring loans for the show. In that way, things move on. I’m ready to move on.”

“We are grateful for his commitment and appreciate his significant contributions to the creative spirit of the Katonah Museum of Art, said Ms. Rosenberg in the statement this week. “The board and staff of the museum wish Neil the very best in his new pursuits. The search for a successor will begin immediately.”

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November 23, 2012

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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