Leadership Bios

Ellen Bernard
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Ellen Bernard is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Walters. She has been a member of the museum’s Board of Trustees for 11 years, and has served as Vice President and President of the Board.

Bernard has held trustee positions with several organizations, including the Baltimore Choral Arts Society; Baltimore Community Foundation; Intersection Inc.; Bridges Baltimore with St. Paul’s School; and the Baltimore Chamber Jazz Society. Bernard is active with the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle, where she is a founding member and past co-chair. She also serves on the Leadership Council for the Open Society Institute of Baltimore.

Through charitable giving, she and her husband, Ed, provide support for several organizations, including supporting the Ellen & Ed Bernard Production Management Intern at Baltimore Center Stage, as well as contributing to the Civic Leadership Fund at the Baltimore Community Foundation, the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, and the Goucher Prison Education Partnership.

James DeGraffenreidt, Jr.
President of the Board
James DeGraffenreidt is the President of the Board of the Walters Art Museum. A veteran energy industry executive, DeGraffenreidt has been a member of the Board for 11 years. He has held numerous leadership positions with the Board, including Vice President and Chair of the Board Governance and Development Committee.

DeGraffenreidt was chairman of the board and CEO of WGL Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Washington Gas. In addition to serving on the boards of the Walters and the Maryland Science Center, DeGraffenreidt served on the Maryland State Board of Education, where he also served as president for two years.

DeGraffenreidt earned a JD and an MBA from Columbia University, and a BA from Yale College.

Julia Marciari-Alexander, PhD
Andrea B. and John H. Laporte Director of the Walters Art Museum

Julia Marciari-Alexander has served as Executive Director & CEO of the Walters Art Museum since 2013. The fifth director of the Walters, she is the first woman to hold the post. During her tenure she has overseen the completion of a $30 million endowment campaign and a major restructuring of the organization. She is inspired by the collaborative work that she and the team at the museum do to create exhibitions and public and educational programs that connect the wide-ranging and diverse communities the Walters serves.

Marciari-Alexander came to the Walters from the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) where she served from 2008 to 2013 as the Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs as well as periods in which she held the positions of Interim Co-Director (2009–2010) and Interim Deputy Director for Education (2010–2011). Prior to her work with SDMA, she spent more than ten years at the Yale Center for British Art, first as a curator and then as an Associate Director.

She earned her MA and PhD in History of Art at Yale University. She also received an MA in French Literature from New York University and a BA in Art History and French at Wellesley College. Marciari-Alexander is married to John Marciari, the Charles W. Engelhard Curator and Head of the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. They and their teenage twins, Beatrice and Jack, reside in Baltimore City.

Eleanor Hughes
Deputy Director for Art & Program

As the Deputy Director for Art & Program, Eleanor Hughes provides strategic direction and leadership for the Walters’ collections, installations, special exhibitions, conservation and technical research, and education/public programs that engage diverse audiences.

Hughes was previously at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, CT, where she served as Associate Director of Exhibitions and Publications, and Associate Curator. She played a key role in formulating the overall program of exhibitions and publications presented by the Center. Hughes, who is a scholar of 18th-century British art and actively engaged with contemporary British art and artists, curated many exhibitions at the Center and produced over 25 publications. She oversaw an international touring program of exhibitions, many of which were co-organized with major national public museums in the UK.

Hughes earned a BA in History of Art and French Language and Literature at Smith College, and a PhD in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley.

Kathleen Basham
Chief Operating Officer

As the Chief Operating Officer, Kathleen Basham oversees the financial and operations management of the Walters, including finance, human resources, information technology, security, capital projects, retail and cafe operations and facilities management.

Basham has an established career in leadership roles in the Baltimore non-profit arts community. She began her arts administration career at the Baltimore Museum of Art, where she served first as the Deputy Director for Finance and Administration and then as an Associate Director; she also served as Acting Co-Director during a leadership transition.

Basham served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts. She has also held executive-level roles in the retail industry, including with I. Magnin & Company in San Francisco, where she served as Vice President of Merchandise Support Services. She has held leadership positions on various community boards, including the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, and taught an undergraduate arts administration course at Goucher College in fiscal responsibility in the arts.

Kate Burgin
Deputy Director for Museum Advancement

As the Deputy Director for Museum Advancement, Kate Burgin leads the museum’s Advancement Division of development, marketing and communications, and visitor services staff, who are dedicated to engaging audiences, building support, and increasing awareness of the Walters.

Burgin has extensive experience in addressing organizational strategy, audience development, and revenue enhancement for arts and cultural non-profits and foundations. Previously she was the Senior Vice President and Director of Research and Special Initiatives at TDC, one of the nation’s top management consulting firms for the non-profit sector. She was also with the Boston Consulting Group, where she focused on strategy, consumer audience research, and organizational development.

Burgin earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA, magna cum laude, in History and Literature from Harvard College.