The board of directors of the Bakersfield Museum of Art has selected a Florida museum professional to succeed Bernie Herman as executive director and CEO, the museum announced Monday.

John Lofgren will assume his duties at the downtown Bakersfield museum Feb. 4.

"We believe John has much to offer the Bakersfield Museum of Art and the Bakersfield community," said board chairwoman Susan Hersberger. "He brings extensive arts management experience, a passion for the arts that is contagious, and a track record in fundraising, membership growth, and collection development. John and his wife, Inger, who have strong ties to California, will be relocating to Bakersfield and look forward to becoming involved in the community."

Most recently, Lofgren served as director of the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, Fla. During his career he has been head of six major cultural institutions, according to the museum media release.

Herman announced his retirement in the fall, but said he would stay on until his replacement could be found. He and his wife, Joan, plan to move to Southern California to be closer to family.

"Bernie's contributions to the Bakersfield Museum of Art have been significant," Hersberger said. "Under Bernie's leadership, the museum has achieved financial stability, which is an enviable position for any nonprofit organization today. The museum has also expanded its artistic and educational programs and broadened its outreach to local audiences.

"Thanks to Bernie, the museum is poised for future growth."

Lofgren holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Oregon, including a Ph.D in art history. He also studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

-- Bakersfield Museum of Art media release