Jill Medvedow, Class of 1972, became the 11th director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in March 1998, following a national search by the ICA’s Board of Trustees.
Since her appointment, the ICA has repositioned itself locally and nationally as the leading contemporary art museum in Boston. In 1999, and against all odds, the ICA won civic designation to build a new museum of contemporary art on Boston’s waterfront. In December 2006, the ICA opened to local, national, and global acclaim.
At the ICA, Jill has championed an internationally recognized program of exhibitions and contemporary performance, led efforts to build a national model for teen arts education and championed leadership development through the arts. She recently led a comprehensive study examining the efficacy and impact of free admission at the ICA on the city of Boston and its residents. She has a proven record of leadership and innovation, focused on increasing access to arts and formal and informal learning and education.
Jill has consulted for City Year, The Boston Foundation, and MASSMoCA in the areas of program development and strategic planning. She serves on the national advisory boards of Arts 21 and the National Arts and Learning Curriculum.
Jill has been a guest lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She has been a speaker for local and national symposia and conferences, including the Nantucket Conference, Art Basel/Miami, The Forum for New Ideas in New York City, and University of Massachusetts/Boston’s Eye of a Revolution. She also served as the chair of the Working Group on the Creative Economy for Governor Deval Patrick’s transition team.
Before joining the ICA, Jill founded Vita Brevis, a contemporary arts organization that produced temporary public art projects linking history and landscape that was ultimately integrated into the ICA; was the deputy director and curator of Contemporary Art at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; served as program director at WGBH; was the deputy director of the New England Foundation for the Arts; and was the founding director of 911 Contemporary Arts in Seattle, Wash. Jill is co-editor of Vita Brevis: History, Landscape, and Art 1998–2003, which was published in 2004 by Steidl.
In 2006, she was selected by Boston Globe Magazine as one of Five People of the Year and designated “The Visionary.” She is the recipient of the Lydia Goodhue Award from the Boston Harbor Association; the Women In Design Award of Excellence from the Boston Society of Architects; the Pinnacle Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, which honors outstanding women business leaders; and was a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young.
Jill received her Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University and her Master of Arts from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She is the recipient of honorary degrees from Lesley University and Montserrat College of Art. Jill is a native of New Haven, Conn. She is married to Richard Kazis, senior vice-president of Jobs for the Future and a leading expert on community colleges, high school reform and economic justice. They have two children: Noah and Sophie Kazis, 20.
Jill was honored with an Alumni Achievement Award from Hamden Hall in 2011.