At Saturday’s opening reception for Five, an exhibit of works by LA- and New York-based artists at UNLV’s Barrick Museum, director Aurore Giguet was experiencing a quiet farewell.
After 20-plus years at the Barrick, she has accepted a position as executive director of the Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science and Art in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a job that means leaving the campus museum she fought so hard for during the 2011 state budget cuts, and the institution she helped transition from natural history to contemporary art that same year. The museum now holds more than 200 contemporary works belonging to it and the Las Vegas Art Museum, and more than 2,000 works and artifacts in the cultural collection devoted to Mesoamerica and the American Southwest.
“The museum is in a more positive space now and has a strong future,” Giguet said, adding that the exhibition calendar is set for the next three years and that the museum’s 50th anniversary next year brings a goal to acquire 50 more works.
The daughter of French Congo-born artist Jean Giguet, who moved to Las Vegas in 1977, Aurore Giguet began her career as a student worker at the Barrick in the early ’90s, doing archaeological and environmental surveys then joining the staff as collections manager, curator of exhibits and ultimately, director.
“I am very impressed to see the development of the Barrick as an outstanding and visible asset to the UNLV community due to her commitment,” says Sang-Duck Seo, interim chair of UNLV’s Department of Art and a faculty member since 2006. He adds that in addition to new program development, Giguet oversaw the planning and installation of eight exhibitions and organized artist talks, film screenings and other events designed to engage the community, including a pairing with the Neon Museum.
Giguet leaves having built a reputation in the arts community of being wholeheartedly dedicated to the Barrick Museum and its outreach. On moving away from Las Vegas, she says, “I knew I’d eventually leave, but didn’t have a time frame. My husband’s family is from Pennsylvania and we spend part of every summer there.”
Her last day is June 15.