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GEI Luncheon in honor of Mr. Richard Townsend, Director of MOBIA – New York, June 18, 2014

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today I am very pleased to welcome to GEI, Mr. Richard Townsend, Director of the Museum of Biblical Art in New York City, also known as MOBIA.

Mr. Townsend received his B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and an M.A. at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Early in his career, Mr. Townsend specialized in European and American art of the 17th to 19th centuries, and as the curator at The Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, organized numerous exhibitions. During this time, he published in international catalogues and journals such as The Burlington Magazine and Apollo, among many others.

Over the past ten years, Mr. Townsend has worked in modern, contemporary, and Latin American art, first as Executive Director and CEO of Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. There he doubled its annual operating budget.

In 2006, Mr. Townsend was appointed Deputy Director for External Affairs at the Miami Art Museum. While in this position, he helped achieve record fundraising and membership goals, as well as supported major exhibition projects.

More recently, Mr. Townsend was President and CEO of the Museum of Latin American Art in Los Angeles where he oversaw record setting attendance and fundraising efforts, as well as attracting and commissioning exhibitions critically acclaimed in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

In October 2013, Mr. Townsend was appointed Director of MOBIA in New York.

In this new position, he is organizing an ambitious and significant Italian exhibition titled “Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces from Florence Cathedral,” which will open at MOBIA in February. It is one of the most important Italian exhibitions to ever take place in New York City, and Mr. Townsend, the force behind this major undertaking, will discuss it in more detail with us all today.

Therefore, I am very pleased to present Mr. Townsend, on behalf of GEI, with the “GEI FRIENDSHIP AWARD” in recognition of his many achievements.


The luncheon was held on June 18, 2014 in the Stella Private Room of Le Cirque restaurant in New York City.