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Press Room


Ferdinand T. (Terry) Stent Elected Chair,
.Linda Lichtenberg Kaplan Elected Vice-Chair of the
Smithsonian American Art Museum Board of Commissioners

Contact: Smithsonian American Art Museum's Public Affairs Office AmericanArtinfo[at]
American Art's Web site:
Recorded information: (202) 633-8998

The Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution has confirmed the election of Ferdinand T. (Terry) Stent of Atlanta, Ga., as chair, and Linda Lichtenberg Kaplan of Washington, D.C., as vice-chair, of the Smithsonian American Art Museum Board of Commissioners, effective immediately.

The Board of Commissioners of the Smithsonian American Art Museum was established in 1921 as an advisory board for the museum. The twenty-four commissioners, whose terms are four years, meet twice a year in Washington to advise the director of the museum on matters of policy and programs and to review proposed major acquisitions.

"Terry Stent and Linda Kaplan are the perfect leadership team for our museum this year, which promises to be a watershed for the museum," said Elizabeth Broun, director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. "While our historic home is undergoing a major repair and restoration, the museum is getting ready to mount a capital campaign for the museum and a new American Art Center and relocating its administrative staff, conservation laboratories, library, and art storage to the nearby Victor Building. In addition we have organized an unprecedented tour of over 500 of our masterpieces to seventy museums over the next three years. We have an ambitious agenda, and I am gratified that Terry and Linda will lend key support along the way."

Terry Stent has a distinguished record of public service and support of the arts. He has been a member of the Commission since 1998 and has served on the museum's Collections Committee. Stent retired as a captain of Delta Air Lines in 1997 after 27 years of service. Educated at Yale (AB) and Harvard (MBA), he joined the Navy in 1961, became a fighter pilot and flew 117 missions over North Vietnam. He was decorated with nine air medals during his tour of duty.

Terry and his wife, Margaret, collectors of 19th- and 20th-century art, have supported several exhibitions at the museum, including the "Art of the Gold Rush," and are major contributors to the capital campaign. In addition to his association with the museum, Stent serves as a board member of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Ga., and has been a member of the High Museum Fine Art Collectors Board since 1995.

"I am extremely honored to serve the Smithsonian American Art Museum in this capacity, and look forward to working with other members of the board," said Stent. "There are wonderful opportunities to enhance and strengthen the museum's programs while working with the commission of the National Portrait Gallery, with whom we share pride and passion in the depth and breadth of our collections. Together these museums represent the nation's American art epicenter."

Linda Lichtenberg Kaplan, a dedicated champion of the arts in the nation's capital, has served on the museum Commission since 1992. Educated at Boston University (BA), she is a Board Certified Appraiser of Fine Arts (ASA, AAA) specializing in 20th-century American art and is president of the Lichtenberg Family Foundation, which supports fine arts and health care.

In the late 1980s, Kaplan established an endowed fund to support the museum's program dedicated to contemporary art. She and her husband, Louis (Beau) Kaplan, collectors of American modernist art, have supported important museum exhibitions such as "Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York," "Singular Impressions: The Monotype in America," and "Stuart Davis," as well as acquisitions, scholarly publications, and educational materials.

Stent and Kaplan succeed commissioners Richard J. Schwartz of Scarborough, N.Y., and Dr. Patricia Frost of Miami, Fla., who served as chair and vice-chair respectively.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum collection began with gifts of art donated to the federal government in 1829 and has evolved into the world's most important American art holdings with approximately 38,000 paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, folk-art objects, and 20th-century crafts. While its main building, the Old Patent Office, closed on Jan. 3, 2000, for renovations estimated to take three years, the museum is continuing a full program of craft exhibitions at its Renwick Gallery, located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. For information about Renwick Gallery activities, call Smithsonian Information at (202) 357-2700. Please visit the museum's award-winning Web site at