Director Marla Price announces the retirement of Curator of Education Terri Thornton, effective November 10, 2023, after almost three decades at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Admired and respected by colleagues, artists, teachers, and students, Thornton leaves a legacy of artist-led and art-focused programs serving the Fort Worth community and beyond.

Thornton, a practicing artist, began her career at the Museum in 1994, following teaching positions at University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Christian University, University of Dallas, and Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, Texas.

She brought an artist’s sensibility to the position, inviting and hiring artists to design, present, and teach the Modern’s programs.
“We are grateful to Terri for her significant contributions to the Modern and the arts community,” says Price. “Terri has introduced an enormous number of students to the Museum and to the importance of art. Her dedicated work on the Tuesday Evenings at the Modern lecture series will have a lasting impact on generations of art lovers. She has always been a catalyst for creating new ways of experiencing and learning about art and its connection to the world.”

During her tenure as head of the Museum’s Education Department, Thornton was instrumental in the organization and planning for the Tuesday Evenings lecture series. For over 29 years, this series has provided the community with free access to learn from and interact with artists, scholars, and architects. Tuesday Evenings has been and remains an important forum for timely conversations and art-inspired interactions. Many notable speakers have participated in the series. Highlights of Thornton’s tenure include Mark Bradford, Annette Lawrence, Vito Acconci, Richard Tuttle, Lucy Lippard, Robert Storr, Lawrence Weiner, Martin Puryear, Glenn Ligon, Alejandro Cesarco, Andrea Fraser, Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, Charles Gaines, the Homecoming group, Linda and Ed Blackburn with Dr. Mark Thistlethwaite, lauren woods, Mendi + Keith Obadike, Kahlil Robert Irving, Vernon Fisher, Kamrooz Aram, Lauri Simmons and Carroll Dunham, Dr. Frances Colpitt, Harmony Holiday, Carrie Yamaoka, Kandis Williams, Martine Gutierez, Frances Stark, and Philip Kaiser with Helene Winer and Mary Sue Anderson Ader.

Thornton initiated the Museum’s popular Summer Art Camp and Art Study, bringing thousands of children to the museum to learn from the art in our galleries. She designed or provided leadership for many impactful education initiatives including Teen Artist/Project; Writing to Look, a repeat-visit opportunity for middle school students; Sundays with the Modern, an artist-led gallery tour; Modern Billings, which uses community billboards as programming sites; Spanish-language tours; regularly scheduled public tours and architecture-focused tours; Slow Art tours, a model used throughout museums that slows down looking and engaging with a limited number of works; engagement with area medical students in relation to works in the galleries; a summer film series in which artists recommend films; Being There: Tuesday Evenings with the Modern, a remote response to pandemic conditions; exhibition-related reading groups; and Modern Salons, in which current events and social movements are considered in relation to the Modern’s holdings with related readings and discussions. Many remember the unique experience of participating in a marathon public reading of Melville’s Moby Dick in relation to a 2016 Frank Stella exhibition!

Thornton notes on this occasion, “It is the art that has sustained me throughout. Rather than becoming callous to art’s contributions and its connection to our humanity, I believe in its capacity to challenge and connect us even more than when I was wide-eyed and just beginning this amazing journey.”

Thornton will continue to be part of the Fort Worth art community as a working artist and curator. She and her husband, artist Cameron Schoepp, launched the alternative gallery, Blind Alley Projects, in April 2020 and host several exhibitions a year—all open to the public for drive-by viewing.

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