Consey '99 (EMBA)
Profile: Kevin Consey '99 (EMBA)
fine art of fund raising
alum enjoys challenge, culture of museum management
you want to build a new museum, Kevin Consey '99 is the man
director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
at the University of California at Berkeley — working
on raising the funds, creating consensus and hiring an architect
for a $100 million facility — Consey is in the middle
of his third building campaign. The Kellogg School alum is
an expert in his field, having served as a consultant to dozens
of institutions around the world looking to negotiate the
challenging combination of artistic, aesthetic and financial
factors that determine the success of a new museum.
museum directors who are in the field for 15 or 20 years end
up doing maybe one building project. That in Berkeley I'm
doing my third is unusual — some would say masochistic,"
says Consey, a graduate of the Kellogg School Executive Master's
Program. "Being a museum director on this task takes
a mix of leadership, human resources management, donor and
community relations. I suppose any industry presents comparable
knew early on that he would pursue a career in museum management.
An art history major at Hofstra University, he was a research
intern at institutions like the National Gallery of Art and
served as the director of the Emily Lowe Gallery at Hofstra
before becoming director of the San Antonio Museum of Art
in 1980. There, he supervised construction of a $12 million
re-use of the museum's National Register buildings. From 1989
to 1999, he served as director and CEO of the Museum of Contemporary
Art in Chicago, where he led the creation of new 220,000-square-foot
facility and a $72 million building and endowment campaign.
at the MCA, Consey decided to formalize his training in business
administration, so he took a sabbatical to attend Kellogg.
He offset tuition costs by consulting, an activity he enjoyed
so much that he believed it might represent a new career path.
And for two years it did. Then Berkeley offered him the director's
opportunity interrupted the idyllic dream world I had created
for myself," he says with a laugh.
his professional efforts, the EMP-43 grad notes that the San
Antonio and Chicago museums are dissimilar, and the Berkeley
facility will likely be different still. So there is no "Consey
style" museum. His job, as he sees it, is to find the
unique mix of physical and pragmatic features needed by each
institution. The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive,
for example, shows between 700 and 1,000 public screening
each year, the materials drawn from its extensive film collection.
But the facility also houses a very large art museum and is
a research facility at an academic institution.
are some interesting challenges in the East Bay for this project,"
Consey says. "We're working in a seismic zone and with
a large and complex institution in a public university, trying
to create a unique identity and brand through the building.
Then there are technical challenges, such as how to present
the works in a visual culture."
raising $100 million entirely from the public sector to fund
the new facility is a big part of Consey's job. The economic
times do not seem ripe for this task, but the Kellogg alum
probably never a good time to raise large amounts of money,"
he observes. "The process is long enough with a project
such as ours that the effort is akin to a marathon, not a
sprint. There's always going to be a full economic cycle during
that process. The most important thing is creating a compelling
case and being able to articulate it to donors."
with the largest challenge of his career, Consey is enjoying
Berkeley and the job, even though he does miss his Kellogg
School classmates and Chicago. A collector of photography,
especially prints of Japan and Japanese culture, he says that
the film archive's core collection of Japanese work has been
a chance to delve into another artistic specialty.
really fascinating thing about the Berkeley museum, and a
great attraction to me, is the opportunity to work with this
film archive and images," he says. "I spend a lot
of time in the evenings at our movie screenings."