DAVENPORT — When the Figge Art Museum needed an interim executive director to smooth the transition when Tim Schiffer leaves this summer, it turned to a familiar face, Carmen Darland.
The former Quad City Arts CEO, who retired in December after 10 years leading the regional nonprofit, will become part-time interim chief July 15 at the downtown Davenport museum. Schiffer is resigning as executive director effective July 31, after being at the helm for seven years.
“The average search process is three to four months, and if it takes us four months or longer, we want somebody there to be sure the staff and the agenda is supported,” Figge board president Cindy Carlson said Thursday. “Carmen has the experience. She served as interim director before Tim arrived seven years ago.”
A search committee — including a couple Figge board members, volunteers and a staffer — is interviewing executive recruiters to conduct a national search for a new director, she said.
“Our goal is to have this position filled by late summer,” Carlson said. “If we had a candidate, had an offer made and accepted by the end of summer, I'd be really happy.”
“There isn't a huge pool of people in this line of work,” she said. “The Figge is in a really good place on a lot of levels. I think we have a lot to offer people who are willing to look at this, with the cost of living, all the things we talk with candidates about. We have a good story to tell there.”
The museum was founded in 1925 when former Davenport Mayor Charles A. Ficke offered his collection of 300-plus artworks to the city of Davenport. As a result, the Davenport Municipal Art Gallery opened in a former armory on Fifth Street. The museum moved to a site adjacent to the Putnam Museum in the 1960s. It was renamed the Davenport Museum of Art in 1987 and was operated by the city until 2005, when the Figge Art Museum opened at 225 W. 2nd St.
The Figge serves over 100,000 people each year, including visitors from all 50 states and many foreign countries. Its exhibitions feature world-renowned artists, both traditional and contemporary, and its education programs serve over 5,000 Q-C students who come for tours with their classes, as well as over 20,000 students who participate in the Big Picture Outreach Program in their classrooms.
The museum recently celebrated a contract extension with the city for increased funding.
Under a 2003 agreement, the Figge committed to house, care for and exhibit the city’s collection, which had grown to almost 4,000 works, until the year 2023. The new agreement extends the existing agreement beyond 2030.
The city will contribute the current annual amount of $753,000 through 2025, which will rise to $800,000 a year through 2030. The agreement then renews for five-year increments with each increasing $30,000, Carlson said. For example, 2031-2035 would be $830,000 annually, and then $860,000 for years 2036-2040.
The Figge's annual operating budget ranges from $2.5 million to $3 million, with that affected by scope and cost of exhibits and programs in any given year, Carlson said.
As part of the contract, the Figge agrees to meet certain fundraising goals, and to bring an alderman, chosen by the mayor, onto its board. The Quad Cities Cultural Trust, which provides operating grants to six Q-C cultural organizations, agrees to continue making yearly grants to support the Figge’s programs and exhibitions.
“This is a banner day for the Figge,” Carlson said before the contract was signed June 3. “We appreciate the support of the mayor, the city council and city staff, and the Quad Cities Cultural Trust for putting this new contract in place. It ensures the Figge’s sustainability into the future.”
For more information on the museum, visit figgeartmuseum.org.