Following a national search for a specialized education position, the Wichita Art Museum (WAM) has appointed Mat Buckingham as the museum’s new Curator of Education. Buckingham begins his tenure at WAM on October 19.
“Mat is the ideal person for the role of WAM Curator of Education at this moment,” said WAM Director Dr. Patricia McDonnell. “He has a sterling record in developing art training that engages and inspires kids. Mat bristles with creativity, while he is also a compassionate leader and effective administrator. WAM plans a significant school field trip initiative in coming years as part of our Strategic Plan. With his background in Wichita public schools, Mat can lead this new program to success.
Buckingham is a long-time Wichitan and educator with more than 30 years of experience in public school education. He comes to the museum after retiring from USD 259-Wichita Public Schools. He taught art at all grade levels at Buckner Performing Arts Magnet Elementary School and most recently at Wichita South High School. He also served as an adjunct instructor in Art Education in the School of Art, Design, and Creative Industries in the College of Fine Arts at Wichita State University.
“I’ve had the opportunity to witness Mat Buckingham’s exemplary leadership in Wichita’s art education community for more than 30 years,” said Shawn Chastain, Executive Coordinator of Fine Arts for USD 259. “He is a caring and tireless individual who has the ability to accomplish any task before him. Our Wichita Public Schools Fine Arts Department looks forward to working with Mat in his new role with one of our longtime district partners, the Wichita Art Museum.”
As Curator of Education, Buckingham will be responsible for developing opportunities to engage all visitors in the museum-going experience. His responsibilities will include directing the museum’s robust docent program and creating compelling programs and events that, as part of WAM’s Strategic Plan, help all visitors enrich their lives through meaningful, educational, and personal connections with works of art.
Buckingham’s academic credentials include a bachelor’s degree in painting and art education from Colorado State University in Fort Collins and a master’s degree in Education Administration and Supervision from Wichita State University. Buckingham served on the Fine Arts Advisory Council at Wichita State University, is a founding member of Art & Design Advocates at WSU, and he also served on the university’s Ulrich Museum of Art Alliance Board.
The Wichita Art Museum opened in 1935 and is home to the Roland P. Murdock Collection, one of the premier collections of American art. With a nationally distinguished collection, an Edward Larrabee Barnes-designed facility, and a growing audience, the museum is a public/private partnership, owned by the City of Wichita and managed by Wichita Art Museum, Inc. The mission of the Wichita Art Museum is to bring people, ideas, and American art together to enrich lives and build community.