Susan Baley returned to Oklahoma in November 2018 to become the Executive Director of 108 Contemporary. Located in the Tulsa Arts District, 108 Contemporary provides exhibition space for the most innovative contemporary craft from Oklahoma and around the world, exposing the region to the world of fine craft. The nonprofit gallery is known for its community partnerships that connect vulnerable populations with contemporary craft.
Prior to moving to Tulsa, Baley spent several years in Terre Haute, Indiana, as the Executive Director of the Swope Art Museum. The Swope’s collection of nearly 2,500 works of American art includes paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from the 19th century to the present. The Swope is primarily known for its collection of American Regionalist paintings, with important works by Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, and Thomas Hart Benton. During her tenure at the Swope, attendance increased by 88% due to a range of new community programs.
Previously, Baley served as the Director of Education at the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and taught art history, museum studies, and art appreciation at the high school and college level. She has held leadership roles in professional museum organizations at the state and regional levels and completed the Oklahoma Arts Council’s statewide Leadership Arts program in 2011.
Baley received her BFA in art history with a concentration in Classical studies from Wichita State University, and her MA in art history with a concentration in contemporary art from the University of Oklahoma. Her thesis Mazes, Metaphors, and the Mind explored the relationship between Alice Aycock’s sculptural work and her writing. In 2018, she completed a certificate in Nonprofit Executive Leadership from the University of Indiana’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She has been working passionately in the arts for more than three decades and continues to believe in the power of art to change lives.