Rod Bigelow has served as executive director of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art since 2013, guiding all facets of the museum’s development and reflecting his more than 20 years of experience in management of arts and cultural institutions. He joined Crystal Bridges in 2010, serving as the deputy director of operations and administration, focusing on organizational and policy development as well as construction activities leading up to the museum’s opening in November, 2011. In that role, he led the Crystal Bridges’ strategic planning process, resulting in a comprehensive plan guiding the museum’s focus.
During Bigelow’s tenure at Crystal Bridges, the museum has welcomed more than 2.5 million visitors. Prior to joining Crystal Bridges, Bigelow was chief operating officer at the Toledo Museum of Art, where he implemented a federal grant program to increase funding for the museum’s sustainability projects, initiated collaboration with local non-profit organizations, and coordinated planning and pre-construction activities for a new contemporary gallery space. He was appointed interim executive director at the Toledo Museum of Art in 2009.
Bigelow previously served as director of administrative and financial services at The Art Institute of Seattle, where he oversaw financial aid, accounting, facilities, and retail activities. Bigelow also spent eight years with the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington, serving initially as chief financial officer and later as interim executive director.
He holds a master’s in business administration degree from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. In 2012, he completed the Museum Leadership Institute sponsored by the Getty and Claremont Graduate University. He has served on the board of directors of the Children’s Museum of Tacoma and currently serves as a board president of Downtown Bentonville, Inc.