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Arts & Culture

Sara Segerlin To Lead Gregg Museum of Art & Design

Sara Segerlin is the new director of the Gregg Museum of Art & Design.
Sara Segerlin is the new director of the Gregg Museum of Art & Design.

The Gregg Museum of Art & Design is moving forward under new leadership.

In a recent announcement, Ontario Wooden, University College’s senior associate dean and interim director of Arts NC State, named Sara Segerlin the museum’s new director, effective July 1. Segerlin replaces Roger Manley, who retired in 2023.

“Sara brings a wealth of experience in both arts and education to NC State,” Wooden said. “We are thrilled to welcome her to the Arts NC State community and are excited to see where she takes her vision for the Gregg.”

Segerlin comes to NC State from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and The Momentary in Bentonville, Arkansas, where she served as the director of community engagement for the past six years. Before that, she led the curation of the museum’s public programming and young professionals’ contemporary membership group.

The model of NC State University’s ‘Think and Do,’ just spoke to me.

Segerlin earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, and Master of Fine Arts, Interdisciplinary Arts Practices from The State University of New York, Brockport / Visual Studies Workshop. 

“I have spent almost 18 years of my career focused on the power of art, people, and social impact,” Segerlin said. “When I read the job description and learned more about the collection and its importance in terms of understanding cultures, people, social design and innovation with the model of NC State University’s ‘Think and Do,’ it just spoke to me.”

Sara has everything that a museum director should have.

During her time at Crystal Bridges and The Momentary, Segerlin’s job duties included overseeing institution-wide strategic planning with the Learning and Engagement division, fostering a positive work culture change, department operations, curating programs, artist residencies, performances, public art and collaborative exhibitions. 

“Sara has everything that a museum director should have,” said Melisa Laelan, the Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese executive director. “She is a creative artist with a strong leadership experience that also has a strong programming history and someone who understands strategic planning and the importance of evaluation.”

Some of Segerlin’s highlights with Crystal Bridges and The Momentary include spearheading the arts and social impact accelerator residency and serving as the leadership council chair for the museum’s COVID-19 pandemic relief effort. 

“I think Sara is a wonderfully ambitious person who is really interested in growing both herself and the institution she’s working with,” said Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges and The Momentary’s executive director. “That has been really evident with her growth in regard to building programs at the museum.”

Segerlin also led the design and development of the museum’s community-centered framework. 

She led the successful launch of the mobile art lab traveling across the state, outreach campaigns, and community partnerships for individuals with disabilities, seniors, rural communities, Eastern Oklahoma tribal nations, under-represented communities, adult education for immigrants, and multilingual speakers. Segerlin was also the project leader for communities’ co-curating exhibitions, for example, the Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese and the Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas.

“Sara has been an exceptional collaborative partner over the years,” said Lakisha Harper Bradley, the executive director of My-T-By-Design and a Mid-America Art Alliance Creative Impact Awardee. “Our journey together began at Crystal Bridges American Art Museum, and her dedication to learning about my community and advocating for its artists has been truly inspiring.”

I always find that universities, at the heart of it, are about activation, community and learning.

Throughout her career, Segerlin has also been no stranger to the world of education. She was a K-12 level art educator for the Los Angeles Unified School District and Inner-City Education Foundation.

Segerlin was also a video art and film theory instructor from at the State University of New York, Brockport. 

“I always find that universities, at the heart of it, are about activation, community and learning. Those things go very well for transforming what a museum can be in meeting the changing times” she said. 

Segerlin felt drawn to the Gregg because of its history, from the museum’s inception as part of NC State’s student union to its current role as a contemporary arts space. 

She hopes to combine her experiences in museum leadership, education, and community engagement to help Gregg continue to grow its role with the NC State and greater Raleigh communities. 

“My vision is to have the Gregg become a shining example of a collaborative, community-centered museum, and how the Gregg can become the hub for energizing art, collaboration and community connection within the campus, and invite the entire Raleigh-Durham community to participate in this experience,” Segerlin said.