A look at Linda Downs' career shows one thing for certain: She knows how to stick with her jobs. After getting her Master of Arts in art history at the University of Michigan in 1973, she was an adjunct faculty member in that field from 1976 to 1989 at Wayne State University.
During that same period, she was curator of education at the Detroit Institute of Arts. In 1989, she became director of education at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. After 13 years in that position, she's moving on to become director of the Davenport Museum of Art and what will be the Figge Arts Center.
Downs said that in school she was an "Islamicist" but enjoyed working in a variety of areas in art history. In Detroit, she was attracted to Mexican murals and the work of Diego Rivera, on whose work she is considered an expert. She also said she has "a good, solid foundation in American art," adding, "I'm an eclecticist now."
If her background for the Davenport Museum of Art position is deficient, it won't be for long, she promised. "I'm going to be learning a lot more about Haitian art," she said, referring to the jewel of her new museum's permanent collection.