Sunday, May 5, 2013


Ms. Round has served since 2002 as executive vice president of brand marketing and strategy for the nation’s largest privately-supported nonprofit, United Way Worldwide. 

NEW YORK, NY.-  Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced yesterday the appointment of Cynthia Round to the newly created position of Senior Vice President, Marketing and External Relations. Ms. Round will join the Museum on June 3. Ms. Round has served since 2002 as executive vice president of brand marketing and strategy for the nation’s largest privately-supported nonprofit, United Way Worldwide, where she has been responsible for global brand stewardship, its national website, communications, marketing, research, and volunteer and online engagement for some 1800 United Way chapters in more than 40 countries. Previously, she held major advertising and marketing positions as senior partner and executive group director at Ogilvy & Mather and, earlier, as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble. A graduate of Oklahoma State University (which recognized her with a distinguished alumni award in 1995), Ms. Round has lectured widely on global branding and social marketing on campuses throughout the country. She has also served on the boards of the Advertising Educational Foundation, the Advisory Committee of the Ad Council, and on charities and public sector arts organizations including Soho Repertory Theater, which she chaired for ten years. 

Shibata Zeshin, The Ibakari Demon, ca. 1839-40, ink and color on paper, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  “We are delighted to welcome Cynthia Round as the Museum’s new chief of marketing and brand strategy,” commented Mr. Campbell. “In a period when the Met is ever broadening its global reach, widening its constituent base, and securing a steadily growing base of support on its website, this highly regarded and inventive professional is the perfect choice to further enhance the Met image and continue building its international brand. All of us look forward to welcoming her to the executive team and working closely with her on the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Eugène Delacroix, Christ Asleep During The Tempest, oil on canvas, 1853, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  Emily K. Rafferty, President of the Museum, to whom Ms. Round will directly report, commented: “The Met identified Cynthia Round after an international search, and her appointment reflects our confidence that we have recruited a highly respected professional for our ranks, as well as our belief that global marketing will play an increasing role in our efforts to build audiences not only at the Museum itself but across our online platforms.” At the Museum, Cynthia Round will oversee marketing, market research, tourism, and internal communications. Also reporting to her will be communications and advertising, which will remain under the direction of Elyse Topalian, Vice President for Communications. Effective June 3, Harold Holzer will assume the new role of Senior Vice President for Public Affairs, in which he will continue to oversee government affairs, audience development, and visitor services. He will remain the chief spokesperson for the Museum on strategic issues. Commented Cynthia Round: “It is a great privilege to join the executive team of the Met to help build this powerful brand around the world.” Ms. Round lives in Manhattan with her husband and daughter. 

NOTE:  Call me old-fashioned, naïve or simply a person who is too easily knocked off center.  I always thought it was mainly about the art and that art is about intense, sincere self-expression and grappling with inner and outer worlds. I'm sure Cynthia Round is great at her job and I recognize that in now-late “blockbuster museum show” era, 2 or 3 years (at most) pre-Armageddon, there seems to be an intense perceived need for her ilk to put the final ruin on the temples of art.  But referring to the Metropolitan Museum of Art as "this powerful brand" is just sickening and, I would submit, not good marketing.  Standing in our local Barnes & Noble yesterday shortly after reading MMA's Round press release, looking at Gustave Doré's illustrations for The Inferno, I realized that the road downhill  continues straight to Hell.   It’s happening so fast.  Happy Greek Orthodox Easter!


Auguste Rodin, The Hand of God, marble, modeled ca. 1896, executed ca. 1907, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Kinks: It's Too Late (Link)

Robert Wyatt: Memories Of You (Link) 


  1. In view of the Met's current line-up, I'm prompted to ask: the road to hell or the road to (R.) Hell?

    In my experience, it's not rewarding to look at how museums or other non-profits make their money. That game was decided a long time ago. The best one can hope for is that the effects of such activities on the institutions themselves will be minimized.

  2. I hope I didn't overreact but I'm pretty sure I didn't. I think the harm was done long ago and the rot is deeply established at the "all star" institutions like MMA. Some people, of course, tune all the marketing out. For others, that's all they hear and that's why they're there. The MMA's annual Fashion Bling event, which was held this week, is a good example of this, I think. I'm just bitter and a little bit nostalgic for the days when museums were mainly visited by kids on school trips, artists, scholars, curious travelers, etc., i.e., virtually no-one and they were spacious, airy, quiet, inexpensive and supported by the wealthy for the right reasons. I might add The Who's early song, The Good's Gone here, but my computer's acting up something fierce. Curtis