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J. Paul Getty Trust press releases and public outreach materials, 1954-1959, 1973-2019 (bulk 1983-2019)

To access physical materials at the Getty, go to the library catalog record for this collection and click "Request an Item." Click here for general library access policy. See the Administrative Information section of this finding aid for access restrictions specific to the records described below. Please note, some of the records may be stored off site; advanced notice is required for access to these materials.
J. Paul Getty Trust Press Releases and Public Outreach Materials

Administrative History

The J. Paul Getty Trust's origins date to 1953, when J. Paul Getty established the J. Paul Getty Museum as a California charitable trust to house his growing art collections. Originally a small, private institution located in Mr. Getty's ranch house near Malibu, the museum moved to the newly constructed Villa in grounds adjacent to the ranch house in 1974. When most of Mr. Getty's personal estate passed to the Trust in 1982, the Trustees decided that, given the size of the endowment, it should make a greater contribution to the visual arts and humanities than the museum could alone. Out of this resolve grew an expanded commitment to the arts in the general areas of scholarship, conservation, and education. This took the shape of new programs including the Center for the History of Art and Humanities (GCHAH), Art History Information Institute (AHIP), Conservation Institute, Grant Program, and Center for Education in the Arts (GCEA). Smaller programs include the Museum Management Institute (MMI), a joint venture with the Art Museum Association of America, and the Program for Art on Film, a joint venture with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1983 the Trust's corporate name was changed from the J. Paul Getty Museum to the J. Paul Getty Trust to reflect its broader scope, with the museum becoming an operating program of the Trust. On December 16, 1997 the Getty Center, a new unified facility housing all Getty programs, was opened in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.

As the Trust matured, several of the programs underwent administrative and functional reorganizations resulting in name changes or dissolutions. AHIP's name was changed to the Getty Information Institute (GII) in 1996 as part of a new identity program instituted by the Trust just prior to occupancy of their new unified facility. To avoid confusion with the soon-to-open Getty Center in Brentwood, GCHAH was renamed the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities in 1996. Three years later the program's name was shortened to the Getty Research Institute (GRI). The GII was dissolved in 1999, and many of its functions were absorbed by the Getty Research Institute (GRI). The Getty Center for Education in the Arts (GCEA) changed its name to the Getty Education Institute for the Arts (GEI) in 1996, and was disbanded in 1998. In 1996, Program for Art on Film was transferred to the Pratt Institute and the Trust ended its affiliation with the program. The Getty Leadership Institute (GLI) was created in 1996 to administer museum executive education programs, including the Museum Management Institute (MMI). Administration of GLI programs was transferred to the Claremont Graduate University in 2010. The Grant Program changed its name to the Foundation in January 2005.

J. Paul Getty Museum press material was prepared and distributed by Museum curator Paul Wescher from 1954-1959. Press release production was not officially institutionalized until 1974 with the creation of the Public Information department and the appointment of Deborah Ashin as Public Affairs Director, although some press releases area dated from 1973. From 1979 to 1997 museum press releases were consistently rendered from Public Information, and in 1983 the Department of Public Affairs was created to issue press releases on behalf of the J. Paul Getty Trust and its non-museum programs. The Department of Public Affairs reported directly to Trust leadership, whereas Public Information reported to the museum. In 1998 the Department of Public Affairs began issuing press releases on behalf of the museum, and responsibility for the organization's press release function was placed in a single department. The Department of Public Affairs name was changed to Communications in 2000. With the hiring of Pamela Johnson in August, 2002, the department head role was elevated to the level of Vice President, reporting to the President and CEO.

Although the Communications department had been creating digital (.pdf files) press releases for some time, systematic annual collection of the materials by Institutional Archives began in 2015.

J. Paul Getty Museum and J. Paul Getty Trust Director of Public Affairs, and J. Paul Getty Trust Vice President, Communications include:

  • 1974-1982: Deborah Ashin, Public Affairs Director
  • 1983-1994: Phillipa Calnan, Public Affairs Director
  • 1995-2001: Lori Starr, Public Affairs Director
  • 2001-August 2002: Jill K. Murphy, Interim Head of Communications and President's Chief of Staff
  • August 2002-2005: Pamela Johnson, Vice President Communications
  • 2005-July 2018: Ron Hartwig, Vice President Communications
  • September 2018-present: Lisa Lapin, Vice President Communications




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