Creation of Named Position, Ayesha Bulchandani Head of Education and Public Engagement, Honors a Trustee and Her Family
(New York, September 22, 2021) – The Frick Collection announces the appointment of April Kim Tonin as the head of its Education Department. Tonin will join the staff on October 18 in a newly named post, the Ayesha Bulchandani Head of Education and Public Engagement. The title honors the family of Frick Trustee Ayesha Bulchandani and expresses a shared commitment to dynamic and rich programming for the benefit of both the public and those served by an array of museum and library partnerships.
Comments Ian Wardropper, Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Director, “Our Education Department has evolved significantly over the past thirty years, from one seasoned, solo staff member to a cohort of collaborative colleagues. Programs have expanded greatly beyond academic lectures and symposia to reach and enrich wider audiences, with events ranging from intimate gallery conversations to broadly accessible public evenings and popular virtual offerings. With the growth of our institution, the vision for educational engagement does not stop there; with that in mind, we are thrilled to welcome April Kim Tonin to our staff. An impressive leader in the field, she will fortify and refresh programming at a moment marked by new possibilities. The critical support for this position from Trustee Ayesha Bulchandani, who has been a passionate advocate for innovative developments within our partnership-driven programs, is a wonderful step forward.”
Adds Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, “The Frick’s approach to education has always centered on opportunities for close looking and conversation. In April Kim Tonin we have a colleague whose depth of leadership, hands-on teaching experience, and ability to cultivate and foster partnerships is a tremendous fit. We anticipate that the results of this position, so meaningfully named by Trustee Ayesha Bulchandani, will have a high impact within our institution and for our many audiences.”
Tonin joins the Frick from the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), where she served as the education department’s Maude and Rodney Starkey Deputy Director. There, she worked with staff and external partners and was pivotal in leading MAD’s efforts to adapt to virtual programming in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. She served the previous fourteen years as the Director of Visual Education at the Nightingale-Bamford School, one of only two independent schools in New York City with a formalized program that incorporates museum collections across its curricula. She was responsible for developing interdisciplinary curricula incorporating works of art, artifacts, and architecture, enjoying direct exposure to the classroom as an educator and teacher. Tonin also facilitated partnerships with a range of cultural organizations, increasing the number of school visits to museums, cultural and civic institutions, and city landmarks to over one hundred each year. Tonin began her professional career at the Museum of Modern Art, where she worked for more than a decade, shifting from a position in accounting to various roles in education. In that capacity, she helped MoMA apply new technologies to educational work and created many successful and influential program types that are still offered today.
A Korean American native New Yorker, Tonin is also a professional illustrator. Her work has appeared in several publications, including The Lily (a publication of The Washington Post), and Time Out New York. Tonin’s work was presented in a 2012 solo exhibition at the National Academy Museum and is in the collections of the Museum of the City of New York and of a number of private clients. Tonin received an M.A. in Art History from Columbia University, and a B.A. in Fine Arts and French from Mount Holyoke College. She comments, “Over the years, I have developed a fondness and respect for the Frick—as a student, artist, and educator. I am honored to join the institution’s esteemed staff.”
Comments Ayesha Bulchandani, “It is deeply meaningful to have the opportunity to honor my family—most notably my father Gobind Bulchandani, my mother Annette Patricia (Patsy) Bulchandani, and my son Saheer Rohan Mathrani—by helping foster the Frick’s work in education. If knowledge is power, education in the arts is a soulful, vital, and layered endeavor. It creates pathways of inclusion and access, as well as offering joy and inspiration. I share with the Frick a vision for education marked by these possibilities of cultural engagement, and I know that current and future generations will be served well.”
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