Press Release
Farewell and Forward: The Figge Art Museum’s Executive Director to Depart
March 14, 2024

Farewell and Forward: The Figge Art Museum’s Executive Director to Depart


Davenport, Iowa (March 14, 2024) — Aleeza Singh, President of the Board of Directors of the Figge Art Museum, announced today that Michelle Hargrave, Executive Director and CEO, will be leaving the Figge later this spring in order to begin the role of Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. “Her tenure has been a period of remarkable achievements and growth for the Figge, greatly benefiting our art community,” Singh said. “Her visionary leadership has propelled the museum into an era of significant growth and deeper community engagement. Although Michelle will be greatly missed, she leaves us in a tremendous position for future opportunities and successes.”

During her tenure, Hargrave oversaw numerous achievements that have fortified the Figge's standing and outreach, including the development of key partnerships with organizations like the Art Bridges Foundation, the Jordan Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, and the Warner Foundation. She oversaw milestone events, such as the building’s 15th anniversary; two Major Exhibition Endowment Fund exhibitions, including the Figge’s inaugural fashion exhibition, Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960; continued diversification of the museum’s collection and programming; and significant educational expansions through a merger with the Beréskin Art Academy. Hargrave successfully secured a significant collection of 20th-century American art and spearheaded several other initiatives, with details to be shared in the coming months. Additionally, she raised over $4 million from private donors, foundations, and Destination Iowa for Evanescent Field, an ambitious public light sculpture that is set to illuminate the Figge’s façade in 2025, making it the largest public artwork in the state of Iowa.

Hargrave’s leadership was also critical during the Covid-19 pandemic, and her strategic response ensured the museum’s relevance and connection to the community during a time of global crisis. By proactively developing new relationships and partnerships with a number of national and local organizations, she has markedly enhanced the museum’s capacity to serve its community, which will continue to benefit the museum in the future. Her efforts and initiatives have further cemented the Figge’s role as a cultural landmark, notably contributing to the artistic, cultural, and educational landscape of the Quad Cities. “She has truly embodied our mission of bringing art and people together,” Singh stated.

Reflecting on her time at the Figge, Hargrave shared, “It’s been a privilege and an honor to lead the Figge Art Museum over the past four and a half years and to have been part of the Quad Cities, which is truly a remarkable place. I’m grateful for the warm welcome, support, and all the enriching experiences during my time at the Figge. Collaborating with our dedicated team and Board of Trustees and witnessing the community's enthusiastic engagement with our initiatives has been incredibly fulfilling. I am proud of our collective achievements, the lasting impact we’ve made, and the strong foundation we've built for the future. I eagerly anticipate celebrating from afar the continued growth and success of the museum and the region."

Singh announced that the Board plans to launch a nationwide search for a new Executive Director within the month, intending to partner with a search firm recognized for its connections in the art and museum sectors. "I am confident we will attract a strong and highly-qualified pool of candidates who are eager to build upon the Figge’s recent accomplishments and innovation.”

Hargrave will continue in her role through April 17. The museum plans to host a celebration of the outgoing Executive Director and CEO and her contributions to the Figge and the community. "On behalf of the Board and everyone at the Figge, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to Michelle for her exceptional leadership, guidance, and friendship. We all wish her immense success as she embarks on this new journey,” said Singh.

Additional information about the Figge Art Museum and a schedule of events is available at Information about the reception honoring Michelle Hargrave will be posted as plans are finalized.


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225 West Second Street
Davenport, Iowa



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