Lawrence J. WheelerDirector, North Carolina Museum of Art
Lawrence J. Wheeler was named director of the North Carolina Museum of Art in October 1994. Since that time, the Museum has become one of the leading art museums in the American South. Its program of major exhibitions, ranging from presentations of the work of Rodin, Monet and the School of Paris to ancient Egyptian art, have attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Museum from across the nation and around the world.
Prior to joining the Museum, Wheeler was director of development at the Cleveland Museum of Art from 1985 to 1994. From 1977 to 1985, he served as deputy secretary at Cultural Resources, where he was responsible for overseeing the construction of the original NCMA building.
Under Wheeler’s leadership, the Museum unveiled its much-anticipated design for an ambitious expansion. Wheeler’s vision for a spacious, light-filled structure to house the Museum’s collection became a reality when the building was finished in 2010. Today, the 127,000-square-foot West Building, surrounded by sculpture gardens and reflecting pools, presents works drawn from the institution’s outstanding permanent collection of more than 5,000 objects spanning the periods from antiquity to the present day.
Wheeler has worked to develop the Museum’s collection, including securing a gift of 29 Rodin sculptures from the Cantor Foundation, making the NCMA the largest repository of Rodin’s work in the American South. He has also helped to build the modern and contemporary collections substantially.
Wheeler earned a B.A. in history and French from Pfeiffer College, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in European history from the University of Georgia.