Joanne Heyler, Founding Director and President
Founding Director and President, The Broad
Director and Chief Curator, The Broad Art Foundation
Joanne Heyler is founding director and president of The Broad, a contemporary art museum co-founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad in downtown Los Angeles seven years ago. In addition to her role at The Broad, she serves as the director and chief curator of The Broad Art Foundation, which was created in 1984 as a pioneering lending library dedicated to increasing public access to contemporary art through an enterprising loan program and is now headquartered at the museum.
Committed to the Broads’ longtime mission of making contemporary art accessible to the widest possible audience, Ms. Heyler leads The Broad museum with innovative and inclusive approaches to museum programming, audience engagement, and visitor experience. The first entirely new major museum founded in Los Angeles in almost 20 years, Ms. Heyler oversaw every aspect of The Broad’s development from inception. She worked closely with architectural designers Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Gensler and numerous specialists to ensure optimal realization of the 120,000-square-foot building, which houses nearly all 2,000 works in the Broad collection. She guides the museum’s special exhibition programming with a focus on social justice, and has brought groundbreaking exhibitions such as “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” to Los Angeles, as well as Broad-organized monographic shows of artists including William Kentridge, Shirin Neshat, Takashi Murakami and Keith Haring. The Broad has achieved the Broads’ goal of revitalizing Grand Avenue and has introduced new vast audiences to contemporary art, welcoming nearly 5 million visitors since its 2015 grand opening.
As the director and chief curator of The Broad Art Foundation, Ms. Heyler worked closely with the late Eli Broad for more than two decades, overseeing the majority of the foundation’s collection’s growth. During her tenure more than 70 artists have entered the collection, building deep representations of work by crucial postwar figures like Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys, as well as work by more recent figures such as Mark Bradford, Sharon Lockhart, Kara Walker, Jeff Wall and others. Building on Broad’s legacy since his passing in 2021, she is increasing new artists in the collection such as Mickalene Thomas, Amy Sherald, Patrick Martinez and Sayre Gomez. Ms. Heyler also oversees the foundation's lending library, expanding the reach of the program to more than 8,000 loans to over 600 museums and galleries worldwide since its founding in 1984.
In addition, Ms. Heyler has helped guide the Broads’ major philanthropic investments in the visual arts locally and nationally, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Zaha Hadid-designed Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.
Ms. Heyler received her bachelor’s degree in art history from Scripps College and a master’s degree in the history of art from the Courtauld Institute of London University. In 2017, she was included in Los Angeles magazine’s “11 Women Who are Making L.A. a Better Place” alongside advocates, entrepreneurs, and trailblazers. Ms. Heyler and her family live in South Pasadena.