The vision for FLAME is to provide a long-term strategy for professional development, research, and advocacy for leaders in art museum education. We are currently funded by the Kress foundation for the following activities:

  • Provide monthly online meetings intended to provide professional development in business and leadership areas, and a safe space to discuss crucial issues faced by individuals in this position.
  • Provide support to individuals/institutions that want to host convenings that explore relevant topics and produce recommendations for the field.
  • Support a community of practice through monthly meetings, a useful website and a quarterly newsletter
  • Determine a structure to sustain the network into the future.

Since its inception, FLAME has grown from some thirty participants to a network of more than 400 Directors of Education in Art Museums that meet monthly to discuss issues and skills required to successfully execute the responsibility of this role. Over the past four years FLAME has developed into a community of practice that provides support and delivers crucial professional development for Education Directors in art museums.


Currently FLAME is led by a leadership council that will eventually comprise rotating positions:

  • Anne Kraybill (Westmoreland Museum of American Art)
  • Lynn Russell (until recently, The National Gallery)
  • Rika Burnham (Frick Collection)
  • Wendy Woon (until recently, MoMA)
  • Stacey Shelnut-Hendrick (Crocker Art Museum)
  • Joanne Lefrak (Site Santa Fe)
  • Amanda Kodeck (until recently, Walters Art Museum)

This leadership council is stewarding the network in an advisory role to Judith Koke and Kimberly Young, who are charged with leading the completion of the activities listed above.

This year (November 2020) the Kress Foundation again supported FLAME with a 2-year grant to move the network under the umbrella of the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI), to support the completion of the activities listed above. ILI, with decades of leadership in the Free Choice Learning Landscape, will ensure that FLAME’s immediate future is secure and supported, providing the infrastructure and time to find a long-term solution to FLAME’s future.


In order to complete the work supported by the Kress Grant, and to broaden the input and perspectives on FLAME’s future, two committees were struck by the Leadership Council in December 2020:

Communication Committee: chaired by Joanne Lefrak, this committee will lead the development of the newsletter and website content to create exchange and community.

FLAME’s Future Committee: chaired by Lynn Russell, this committee will lead the strategic planning of how to best organize and sustain FLAME as a network into the future.

Museum Enterprise Leadership

The Institute of Learning Innovation (ILI) is also engaged in a partnership with the University of Mary Washington (UMW), to present The Museum Enterprise Leadership Program (MEL). Designed to deliver the enterprise business and leadership curriculum specifically needed by art museum directors of education, MEL leverages the robust learning infrastructure (marketing, learning management system, registration portal, Canvas site for student exchange) of UMW to support online learning as their access to experienced faculty in their colleges of Business, Art and Sciences and Education. This, combined with ILI’s a deep history of museum learning and audience research, as well as a more recent focus on effective professional learning, ensures MEL programs are custom designed for museum leaders. The strength of MEL’s approach is presenting the business-related content developed in other industries, in such a way as to build a learning community in which the participants together create meaningful applications to their own field of art museums.