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Former Museum Director Announces Retirement

Katharine Lee Reid, who served as director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts from 1991 to 2000, is retiring from the job for which she left Richmond — director of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Reid, 63, announced her decision Feb. 1 — dropping a "bombshell," reported Cleveland's daily newspaper, The Plain Dealer.

It was a surprise, says Steven Litt, art critic for The Dealer. But, he adds, "this does make sense for her, given her age, the age of her husband and her father, who lives in Chapel Hill."

Reid noted family considerations in her announcement. Her father, Sherman Lee, is 86 and a former director of the museum. Reid and her husband, Brian, 79, plan to move to Chapel Hill to be closer to family.

Litt says Reid's legacy will be twofold — the acquisitions she made to strengthen the museum's permanent collection, and the leadership she offered during the planning of a museum expansion and redesign with architect Rafael Vinoli.

Leaving before the lengthy project gets under way will allow the museum to avoid interrupting the project midstream, notes James T. Bartlett, president of the museum's board of trustees.

Reid was in meetings at press time and unavailable for comment. But she said in an online statement, "I am extremely proud of what I have been able to accomplish on behalf of this magnificent Museum, which has been a beloved part of my life not only as a professional but since childhood." — Jason Roop

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