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City of Fort Lauderdale Declares Bonnie Clearwater Day

City of Fort Lauderdale Declares Bonnie Clearwater Day

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. City of Fort Lauderdale commissioners have declared September 5, 2023, as ‘Bonnie Clearwater Day’ to commemorate a decade of visionary leadership as Director and Chief Curator at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. Ms. Clearwater’s leadership has left an indelible mark on the cultural tapestry of the city, propelling Fort Lauderdale into the spotlight as a vibrant cultural hub, and fostering a new era of artistic excellence that extends beyond the city limits. 

Since being appointed to this position upon the request of Nova Southeastern University and the Board of Governors of NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Ms. Clearwater’s dedication and leadership has yielded significant cultural accomplishments that have resonated both locally and internationally. Under her guidance, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale has transformed into a thriving arts institution renowned for: 

    • Showcasing World-Class Art: The Museum consistently curates and rotates an array of world-class art that thoughtfully reflects the rich diversity of South Florida’s community, drawing art enthusiasts  from around the world to Fort Lauderdale and establishing the city on the global stage of art and culture. 
    • Championing Emerging Artists: Ms. Clearwater’s commitment to discovering and nurturing underrepresented and emerging artists has resulted in many of them now receiving national and international recognition. Their artistic journeys have flourished under her mentorship, shining a spotlight on the region’s burgeoning art scene. 
    • Educational Excellence: The Museum’s steadfast dedication to education extends through  a diverse range of educational programs and workshops, accessible to art enthusiasts of all ages. These initiatives have been beneficial in enriching the local community and igniting a passion for art in countless individuals. 
  • Shaping the Arts and Culture Scene of the City: Ms. Clearwater’s influence extends beyond the museum’s walls, profoundly enlarging audiences and shaping and expanding Fort Lauderdale’s vibrant arts and culture scene. 
  • Art for All: Through Ms. Clearwater’s efforts, the Museum has ensured that art remains accessible to all residents and visitors through frequent admission fee reductions as well as offering free admission days monthly. The Museum is a welcoming space for everyone, reflecting the diverse and fluid geography of the region, from Miami to Palm Beach. 


Situated midway between Miami and Palm Beach, NSU Art Museum is located in the heart of Downtown Fort Lauderdale. The Museum is a premier destination for exhibitions and programs encompassing all facets of civilization’s visual history and is widely known for its significant collection of Latin American art, contemporary art with an emphasis on art by Black, Latin American and women artists, as well as works by American artist William Glackens and the European CoBrA group of artists. For more information, please visit


About Bonnie Clearwater

Bonnie Clearwater was appointed the Director of NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale in July 2013 after serving as the Director and Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) North Miami for over seventeen years. Recognized as a force in defining new trends and directions in contemporary art through innovative original exhibitions and programs, Ms. Clearwater has presented the first major U.S. solo museum exhibition for several of today’s most significant artists including, but not limited to, Albert Oehlen, Mark Handforth, Hernan Bas, Daniel Arsham, Teresita Fernandez, Shinique Smith and Samson Kambalu. She has also curated historically significant exhibitions of works by Helen Frankenthaler, Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Artschwager, Malcolm Morley, Tracy Emin, and Rita Ackermann as well as groundbreaking thematic exhibitions that examine issues crucial to contemporary practice, such as Lux et Veritas for NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. 


Ms. Clearwater has written extensively on Modern and contemporary art. She is the author of The Rothko Book (Tate Publishing, 2006/Abrams, 2007), Mark Rothko: Works on Paper (Hudson Hills, 1984, also published in German and French editions), Edward Ruscha: Words Without Thoughts Never to Heaven Go (Abrams) and Roy Lichtenstein: Inside/Outside, Frank Stella at 2000: Changing the Rules and is the editor and contributing author of West Coast Duchamp (Grassfield Press), Some Aesthetic Decisions (Centennial Celebration of Duchamp’s “Fountain”, and Ana Mendieta: A Book of Works (Grassfield Press).  She is contributing author to Tracey Emin: Angel Without You (Rizzoli), Rita Ackermann (Rizzoli) and Julian Schnabel (Taschen). She is also the author of numerous exhibition catalogues. 


Prior to her position at MOCA North Miami, Ms. Clearwater was the Executive Director of the Lannan Foundation Art Programs in Los Angeles and Director of the Lannan Museum in Lake Worth, Florida. She was the curator of The Mark Rothko Foundation and concurrently was the curator of the Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Collection in New York. She also served as curator of the Peter Norton Family collection. She was an advisor to the 2002 Whitney Biennial; a 2012 juror of the Heinz award; a juror for the Lucilla Award, National Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and an advisor for the Altoids Collection. Ms. Clearwater holds a Master of Arts in Art History from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from New York University. 


About NSU Art Museum

Founded in 1958, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is a premier destination for exhibitions and programs encompassing many facets of civilization’s visual history. Located midway between Miami and Palm Beach in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s arts and entertainment district, the Museum’s 83,000 square-foot building, which opened in 1986, was designed by architect Edward Larrabee Barnes and contains over 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, the 256 -seat Horvitz auditorium, a museum store and café. In 2008, the Museum became part of Nova Southeastern University (NSU), one of the largest private research universities in the United States. NSU Art Museum is known for its significant collection of Latin American art, contemporary art with an emphasis on art by Black, Latinx and women artists, African art that spans the 19th to the 21st-century, as well as works by American artist William Glackens, and the European Cobra group of artists. Two scholarly research centers complement the collections: The Dr. Stanley and Pearl Goodman Latin American Art Study Center and the William J. Glackens Study Center.


Major support for NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is provided by the David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation Endowment, the City of Fort Lauderdale, Wege Foundation, Community Foundation of Broward, Lillian S. Wells Foundation, the Broward County Cultural Division, the Cultural Council, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, the State of Florida through the Division of Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts.

NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale