Robin Held

Robin Held


CCL Class of 2009


Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Washington State University


Executive Director

Institution at time of Fellowship

Frye Art Museum

Robin Held is a creative strategist, executive leader, and cultural entrepreneur.

Held has a demonstrated record of success, strategic change, and value creation in not-for-profit arts and media education, museums, and the private sector. At the core of her accomplishments -  built into her DNA - is the joy of deep engagement with artists.

As curator of more than 100 exhibitions and performances, producing partner, advisor to funders, grant writer, and executive, she has worked directly with artists to realize ambitious work in a wide range of media, from traditional to experimental, including painting, sculpture, film, video, performance, sound art, robotics, artificial intelligence, and digital media. Most recently, she has become a consultant to a select number of artists and organizations, whose innovation, entrepreneurship, and potential positive impact on society are too big to fit easily or well in separable categories of art, science, or new technology. From this vantage she guides creators to new resources, expertise and investment.

Held has strong international networks and deep experience at the forefront of public institutions, working with artists, staff, faculty, trustees, students and community stakeholders. She has led focused teams, who together have successfully transformed organizational culture and infrastructure.

Her past institutional positions include Executive Director of Reel Girls, which educates, mentors and equips young women to create transformative media; Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Collections, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, and Associate Curator at the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington.

Held has published and lectured extensively on contemporary art and performance, and has established a reputation for creating innovative and compelling exhibitions of contemporary visual art, performance, film and new media. In 2013, she was honored with the Women's Funding Alliance Leah McCullough Legacy Leadership Award; in 2009 she was a Center for Curatorial Leadership Fellow, among other awards and recognitions.

Held earned a B.F.A., Painting, Sculpture, Graphic Arts, University of California at Los Angeles; Ph.D., ABD, in Art History, University of Washington; and a certificate of completion, Columbia University School of Business Executive Education Program.