Arts & Culture

Pensacola Museum of Art names new director and chief curator

The University of West Florida announced Amy Bowman-McElhone as the new director and chief curator of the Pensacola Museum of Art.

“Amy Bowman-McElhone is an exceptional director and chief curator. Her experience and leadership will build on the superb work of the Pensacola Museum of Art’s dedicated staff,” said UWF President Martha Saunders. “During her time as director and curator of The Art Gallery at UWF, Amy worked closely with our students, faculty and visiting artists to create some amazing exhibitions. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for the Pensacola Museum of Art under her leadership.”

From 2009-12, Bowman-McElhone served as the director and curator of The Art Gallery at UWF. Her prior experience also includes positions with the Art Museum at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Pittsburgh, and the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio.

Currently a teaching fellow and Ph.D. candidate in art history at Florida State University, Bowman-McElhone also teaches art history courses for the UWF Department of Art. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary art, curatorial practices in Latin America, art in the public realm and curatorial practice and theory.

“I am thrilled to join the Pensacola Museum of Art during this exciting moment and point of transition,” Bowman-McElhone said. “We at the museum will seek to provide thoughtful engagement with and service to local communities, as well as aim to raise the museum’s profile entering into the national dialogue through the development of the permanent collection and the curation of compelling and relevant exhibitions and programs that critically engage currents in art and promote diversity, inclusivity, and cross-disciplinarily.

“Critical to this endeavor is cultivating a space for experiential learning, as well as engagement with the robust cultural ecosystem of Pensacola and the UWF Historic Trust,” she added. “The museum is in a state of becoming, and I’m looking forward to the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.”

A native of Pittsburgh, Bowman-McElhone earned a bachelor’s degree in art history at Penn State University and a master’s degree in art history from West Virginia University. She is currently working on her dissertation on the contemporary artist Mike Kelley at FSU.

During the past 62 years, the Pensacola Museum of Art has presented hundreds of exhibitions and thousands of educational opportunities, becoming the foundation for the visual arts in the Pensacola community. Annually, the museum serves nearly 100,000 patrons.

“We are excited to add Amy to our team as she has the knowledge, skill and passion for the arts that will enable her to build upon and extend the museum’s success in the years ahead,” said Rob Overton, executive director of the UWF Historic Trust.

The museum’s “Permanent Collection” includes 20th and 21st century works on paper. The museum also owns decorative arts collections of European and American glass and African art.

The museum offers a wide range of educational and cultural programs year-round, including artist talks and lectures, museum tours, adult art workshops, children’s classes and camps.

For more information about the Pensacola Museum of Art, call 850.432.6247 or visit