BOYLSTON, MA, August 14, 2023 — New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, owned and operated by the Worcester County Horticultural Society, is delighted to announce the appointment of Kent dur Russell, an influential leader in the region’s cultural sector, as its new board president.
Russell’s career journey, spanning decades, has been marked by exceptional local and international contributions to the museum world. From 2006 through 2022, he served as the Chief Executive Officer and Curator of the Museum of Russian Icons where he played a pivotal role in the organization’s founding, construction, and expansion. He led the museum’s transformation into an AAM-accredited museum of national importance and a leading center for Byzantine icons. Before that, Russell held significant curatorial and executive roles at various institutions including the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin; The Arts Council Gallery in Belfast; The Museum of Art, Science, and Industry in Bridgeport in CT; The Parrish Art Museum in Southampton in NY; The New Museum and the Studio Museum in Harlem in NYC; The Fitchburg Art Museum; and the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, MA. While with the Higgins Armory Museum, Russell initiated valuable partnerships between cultural institutions in greater Worcester and served as the founding chair of the Worcester Cultural Coalition, work that earned him the Key to the City in 2002.
“We are thrilled to welcome Kent dur Russell as our new board president,” said Grace Elton, CEO of New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. “His extensive experience in the arts and cultural institutions combined with his exceptional leadership skills will advance the Garden and enhance its impact within the community.”
Russell’s dedication to the cultural sector in Central Massachusetts and beyond is evident in his board service record. This includes roles as president of the New England Museum Association and as a trustee at institutions such as Music Worcester, Worcester County Visitors and Convention Bureau, and North Worcester Business Association, among others. Currently, he serves as a trustee for the Worcester Art Museum, the Museum of Russian Icons, and Ballets Russes in Boston. Russell has also served two separate terms as a trustee for the Worcester County Horticultural Society, totaling nine years of volunteer leadership service, where he made significant contributions as chair of the Governance Committee.
“I feel a profound connection to New England Botanic Garden’s mission of connecting people with plants,” Russell said. “I am honored to be appointed as the board president and excited about the opportunity to make an even greater contribution to the Garden’s continued success.”
Russell has had a deep interest in gardens and horticulture ever since caring for a townhouse garden in New York City where he spent his childhood. Presently, he calls the historic 1723 Cushing House in Lunenburg, MA, his home, a place where he, with his wife and his two now adult sons, have lovingly tended a garden over the past three decades.