Youlia Bussinger

Youlia BussingerYoulia Bussinger became director of the Pearl [Fincher] Museum of Fine Arts in December. She is dedicated to helping the museum grow.


“The board of directors’ vision is for the Pearl [Fincher] Museum of Fine Arts to become the finest art museum outside of the art district in downtown Houston,” Bussinger said.


After studying in Italy and Sweden and directing several museums in California and El Paso, Bussinger hopes to use her deep well of experience to help guide PFMFA to grow into a bigger museum that can house a private collection by 2020.



Currently the Pearl has two exhibits—“The French Connection: Portraits from a Texas Collection” and “A Collector’s Passion: The Works of Noel H. Leaver.” What is next?


Right now, we’re in active planning because my idea is to have at least two years of planning for the exhibits that are coming. A very impactful exhibition will be related to photography and in conjunction with the National Park Centennial project. The exhibition will be coming from Huntsville at Sam Houston State University, and an official opening to the public for this exhibit will be June 4.



What perspective will you try to bring to the Pearl?


To me, cultural diversity is very big. We’re expanding the demographics as the Northwest Houston community is building in that area. We’ll engage more in different demographics, especially in new generations like the millennials because this is a generation that many museums are trying to court, and we’re doing our best.



What attracted you to the Pearl?


I love developing and building museums. Talking to the board and the selection committee, I knew that they are looking to build a museum and would like to enhance the present museum. This is what I love on a personal level. Another thing appealing to me was the area. We’ve been looking—[me and] my husband—to move to an area that was green and close to the water. We decided we completed something great in El Paso. I left the museum in great shape, but now it’s time for the next chapter in my professional development.



What drives your interest in art and museums?


As a child in my country Bulgaria, I lived in a neighborhood that had a museum. I remember the neighborhood kids went into the museum, and to me it was like a temple. I’m entering an area, I didn’t have a clue what it’s about, but my first impression was, “Wow.” You start learning, and this idea stayed with me through my professional [career].


I like Byzantine art. If you come from the area I’m from in Bulgaria, you can go in one of our churches and museums. It is full of different frescoes. You’ll feel out of this world. I like to feel the connection between what the artist expresses with the visual art and how I connect because everyone looks at something different in the artist. They [could] look to be more peaceful, calm, relaxed or look to connect and understand the story.



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