About

Past Board Presidents and Terms

Jean S. Tucker (1980-1981)
Barcy Condon Fox (1981-1982)
Charles G. Houghton III (1982-1983)
Douglas MacCarthy (1983-1984)
Henry O. Johnston (1984-1990)
Emily Rauh Pulitzer (1990-1995)
Alvin Frank (1990- )
Donna Moog ( - 2000)
Terrance Good ( 2000- 2003)
Susan Sherman (2003-2005)
John Ferring (2005-2009)
David Hoffmann (2009-2010)
David Obedin (2010-2012)
Pat Whitaker (2012-present) 

Past Directors

Laurel Meinig (1981-1984)
Harriet Traurig (1984-1988)
Andrea Kirsh (1988-1991)
Elizabeth Wright Millard (1991 -2001)
Paul Ha (2001-2011)

History

CAM was founded in 1980 as the First Street Forum in downtown St. Louis. Over 30 years later and now in our fourth location, CAM remains true to its mission of showcasing the art of today.

HIGHLIGHTS IN CAM’S HISTORY

1979                                   

  • A group of civic, cultural, and educational leaders, alarmed with the prospect of an “artless” downtown, come together with the hope of maintaining the presence of art as a complement to commercial activity. They hold initial meetings to form a cultural center in Laclede’s Landing, near the Mississippi River.
  • The Center for Metropolitan Studies, University of Missouri – St. Louis agrees to serve as organizational office.
  • Concept for new arts center is presented to the Laclede’s Landing Redevelopment Corporation.

1980 

  • The First Street Forum (CAM’s original name) is named to reflect the purpose of the organization as a forum to “foster open discussions on issues of public interest.”
  • First Street Forum is incorporated in State of Missouri.
  • Jean S. Tucker voted first Chair of Board of Directors.
  • Architectural plans for renovating a 1,600 sq. ft. space at 717 N. First Street, (Raeder Place) are presented to Kimble A. Cohn & Associates.  First Street Redevelopment Partnership announces a contribution of two years free rent.
  • Renovation of First Street Forum’s space begins in October.

1981

  • Laurel Meinig is appointed the first Executive Director
  • The First Street Forum opens to the public.   Inaugural exhibition, from the Museum of American Folk Art, New York, opens, Small Folk: A Celebration of Childhood in America.  Ongoing programming begins with first year budget of $151,000.
  • “The Forum is, in fact, a new and refreshing kind of institution, part cultural and part something else, and that something else drives from the meaning of Forum – for it is a place where timely issues may be discussed and opinions expressed, a place of cataclysms for the public good, a place which, while doing these things, will place no inordinate burden on the public’s ability to support it.” –  Jean S. Tucker, First Street Forum Board President, October 1, 1981.

1984

  • Harriet Traurig named second Executive Director.

1987

  • After a year of review and a feasibility study with extensive community input, the Forum’s Board of Directors initiates a $500,000 development campaign to relocate the Forum to 555 Washington Avenue in the heart of St. Louis’ downtown central business district: “The 5,500 square foot space will house a gallery area twice the size of our previous gallery so we can offer larger and more comprehensive exhibits. The meetings, lectures, performances, educational programs, volunteer activities and private functions. There will be a store front retail area to provide a stream of revenue for our continued financial stability. Our new facility will increase community involvement and enhance our membership development. Our highly visible location in the middle of one of St. Louis’ busiest redevelopment areas will greatly improve our traffic flow.”

1988 

  • Andrea Kirsh named third Executive Director.
  • The First Street Forum changes its name to “The Forum” and moves to 555 Washington Avenue. The new facilities allow for larger and more complex exhibitions and a lecture/performance space. Most importantly, the new location offers access to a larger number of people and the opportunity for a wide range of programs that interest them.

1991

  • Betsy Millard named as fourth Executive Director.

1992

  • The Forum is renamed the “Forum for Contemporary Art” and relocates to the recently created Grand Center Arts and Entertainment District. The Board realizes the importance of this opportunity to become the visual arts anchor for this ambitious development.

1995 

  • New Art in the Neighborhood, an education program providing arts education to local teens, is launched by FCA Education Director Roseann Weiss.

1998 

  • Capital and Endowment Campaign kicks off to raise funds for a new permanent building in Grand Center.

2001 

  • The ground-breaking of construction on the new, permanent building at 3750 Washington Boulevard designed by Architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture.
  • Paul Ha recruited from Yale University to serve as first Director of the new Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

2003

  • Inaugural Gala, a star-studded event, celebrates the opening of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.
  • Curator Shannon Fitzgerald organizes the Contemporary’s inaugural exhibition, A Fiction of Authenticity: Contemporary Africa Abroad.

2004

  • The first Great Rivers Biennial highlights the work of three emerging artists from the St. Louis area.
  • First Annual Distinguished Speaker Series lecture by Glenn Lowry, Director of the Museum of Modern Art.

2005 

  • The $5 million Contemporary Challenge endowment campaign is launched.
  • The Contemporary ArtReach education program launched, bringing contemporary art into St. Louis Public Schools.
  • The Contemporary starts podcasting and blogging, and is among the first museums in the country to do so.

2006

  • First City-Wide Open Studios (now named Open Studios STL) is held to connect the St. Louis community with regional artists.
  • Contemporary introduces the Flat Files program to make artwork from area artists available to public

2007 

  • The Contemporary successfully meets the Pulitzer Challenge and pays off all building debt, and raises a $5 million endowment—before its 4th birthday.
  • Anthony Huberman is named Chief Curator.

2008 

  • Contemporary launches the Front Room series of short exhibitions by artists and others.

2009 

  • The Contemporary hosts its 5th Anniversary Gala honoring two St. Louis greats, Ernest Trova and Tom Friedman

2010 

  • The Contemporary honors Emily Rauh Pulitzer at its Annual Gala.
  • Contemporary launches Teen Museum Studies program, providin teens hands-on museum career exploration and the chance to organize an exhibition from start to finish. 
  • Dominic Molon is named Chief Curator.

2011 

  • The Contemporary reintroduces itself as “CAM” with a new graphic identity and website.
  • CAM launches several digital initiatives, including a fully customized app for iPhone and Android platforms; iPod audio tours; and a web channel, featuring video interviews with curators, educators, and artists. 

2012

  • Lisa Melandri is named Executive Director, joining CAM from the Santa Monica Museum of Art, where she served as Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Programs.

2013

  • CAM celebrates the tenth anniversary of the museum building with the Place is the Space exhibition and a series of special programs examining “CAM in Context.”
  • Thanks to an Innovation Grant from the Regional Arts Commission, CAM launches the Street Views series of large-scale video art that is projected onto the Washington Boulevard facade of the building. 

2014

  • Jeffrey Uslip is named Chief Curator.

2015

  • Thanks to an Innovation Fund grant from Regional Arts Commission, CAM presents Nomad Studio: Green Varnish, the first work of a two-year commision to transform the courtyard through a major landscape architecture installation.