Wherever Marisa Pascucci ’92 establishes roots in her career as a curator, one thing always stays on her desk or in her office. It is a quote by 18th century French philosopher and writer Denis Diderot that she discovered as an art history major at American University: “First move me, astonish me, break my heart, let me tremble, weep, stare, be enraged – only then regale my eyes.” Last year, Marisa was named the new curator of American art at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, FL. Each day, she will slip among the works of Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Edward Hopper. As the Harold and Anne Berkley Smith Curator of American Art, Marisa will care for and continue to develop the museum’s renowned collection of American paintings, sculpture, and works on paper from the 19th and 20th centuries. She also will develop exhibitions from the collection and oversee exhibitions at the Norton Museum organized by other institutions.
“I believe art museums are truly unique places, serving as a sanctuary to enjoy art and a repository to also preserve it,” Marisa says. Her lifelong interest in the arts was even apparent as a Gilmour student, where she was in the Art Club and a junior patron of the Cleveland Ballet.
After graduating from Gilmour and earning a bachelor of arts degree from American University, Marisa received master of arts degrees in art history and museum studies from a joint program at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Over the years, she has been Curator at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse and Associate Curator at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama. In the Cleveland area, she was Exhibitions and Programs Coordinator at The Sculpture Center and a Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Contemporary Art. In the world of academia, she spent two years at the Cleveland Museum of Art as Instructor, Education and Public Programs. Listed in “Who’s Who in American Art,” the Gilmour graduate is the author of several art history publications and is active in professional curator and museum associations.
Of her new position in Florida, Marisa says, “I feel most fortunate to be essentially the caretaker of a fabulous, A+ collection of American paintings and sculpture at a world-class museum like Norton.” She currently serves on the City of West Palm Beach Cultural Council.
Marisa recalls her days at Gilmour and the role the Academy has played in her life. Although Gilmour did not have an art history program, she says, its rigorous college prep English and history classes prepared her for the research and writing critical to her education and career.