Hamilton College charter trustee Linda E. Johnson, a 1980 graduate, has established the Johnson-Pote Museum Director Fund in support of the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art director’s position. The endowed directorship is named for Johnson and her late husband, Harold W. Pote, both ardent advocates for the arts.
“In making this generous gift, Linda is affirming the importance Hamilton places on ensuring strong, insightful leadership in the arts,” said President David Wippman. “This new funding will expand the museum's already significant impact on the local community and the greater art world. Linda’s guidance as head of the board’s building and grounds committee has been invaluable on numerous projects, especially in transforming the vision for the museum into reality.”
Combining her two passions, Hamilton and the arts, Johnson continues to chair the trustee buildings and grounds committee and serves on the Wellin Museum’s advisory committee. She also chaired the trustee subcommittee on arts facilities with responsibility for supervision of the design and development of the museum.
“I see the museum and its director playing an important role in educating not only students who arrive on campus focused on studying the arts, but especially those who haven't given thought to the connection between the visual and performing arts with the sciences and humanities,” said Johnson. “By working with professors from all disciplines, the director and staff can provide a framework for art appreciation during a student’s time on campus and hopefully well beyond.”
As a teaching museum, the Wellin presents diverse exhibitions that complement the College’s interdisciplinary and liberal arts curriculum, playing a primary role in connecting faculty and students across disciplines with varied viewpoints and experiences. Students engage through programs and work opportunities as docents, research assistants, and fellows. In addition to its exhibitions and collections, the museum offers lectures, opportunities to engage with significant artists working today, maintains a robust educational outreach program and has developed an impressive series of publications and experimental cross-curricular activities.
“I am grateful to Linda for her staunch support and advice over the last four and a half years since the museum’s founding,” said Tracy L. Adler, the Wellin Museum’s first Johnson-Pote Director. “As a teaching museum, our programs mirror the outstanding liberal arts education Hamilton provides, allowing for unexpected and fruitful exchanges and activities that continue to engage students, faculty, the community, and beyond.”
“The administration has supported the Wellin’s innovative program since the start, and Linda's involvement and leadership have been critical to that success. I feel extremely honored to hold the title of Johnson-Pote Director and look forward to continuing to make the Wellin Museum a major contributor to the liberal arts experience on campus.”
Although the majority of her career has been spent in the private sector, Johnson has served, since 2011, as president & CEO of Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), overseeing the operations, finances and programs of the 60-branch public library system.
Prior to her position with the BPL, Johnson was interim president and CEO of the National Constitution Center (NCC). While there she worked with a national board of trustees, chaired by President Bill Clinton, and oversaw fundraising initiatives and special events.
Johnson is active on several other nonprofit boards, serving on the Sing For Hope, Curtis Institute of Music and The Metropolitan Opera boards. An American studies major at Hamilton, after graduation she earned an MBA and a degree in law.