Brent Benjamin and the St Louis Art Museum
He has served as director since 1999 and oversaw its inaugural capital campaign and East Building expansion, while leading an effort to pay off the debt associated with funding it all.
He possesses extensive expertise in government and higher education affairs, civil trial and appellate litigation, public administration and public management.
Early Life and Education
Brent Benjamin served on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals from 2004 to 2016. Additionally, he has practiced before federal and state courts within West Virginia.
Becoming an Atlanta Public Schools graduate himself, attending Whiteford Elementary, Coan Middle and W.A. Bass High Schools; he then worked at the school system for 22 years in roles such as procurement agent, contract compliance liaison and contracts services administrator. With this vast knowledge and dedication he strives to ensure qualified businesses from every part of society have equal access to school district procurement opportunities.
He has conducted functional MRI research to gain greater insight into the neural basis of impairments to self and other understanding in schizophrenia, as well as practicing as both a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst.
Brent Benjamin has served on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals since 2004, including serving as its Chief Justice from 2009-2013. Additionally, he has represented clients before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit as well as federal district courts and state courts of record in both West Virginia and Kentucky.
As Don Blankenship was facing a $50 million verdict against Massey Coal in 2004, he spent $3 million to unseat the state Supreme Court justice overseeing it – an instance which highlighted how money corrupts politics, leading to John Grisham writing an account of it in his novel The Executor.
This episode brought greater awareness to issues of judicial misconduct, prompting reforms to state election laws and procedures as a result.
Achievement and Honors
Brent Deane Benjamin hails from Marietta, Ohio and was appointed to serve on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals for 12 years, during which time he introduced several major initiatives – statewide drug court system and Access to Justice Commission being among them – during this time. Today he consults on appellate law matters while participating in moot court competitions.
Benjamin led SLAM through two decades, overseeing its record-setting capital campaign and opening an East Building that opened in 2013. Additionally, he oversaw key artwork acquisitions and community programs like SLAM Underground; two exhibitions that he curated have become highly attended shows at the museum.
Don Blankenship spent millions to elect Benjamin to the state Supreme Court, sparking national outrage that ultimately inspired a John Grisham novel and extensive reforms across Tennessee’s political and legal systems.
Brent Benjamin announced in September 2020 that he will leave his position at the St. Louis Art Museum by mid-2021, after nearly twenty years leading one of America’s premier cultural institutions. Under his tenure, Art Hill underwent major expansion, an unprecedented capital campaign was completed and two of their most-attended exhibitions took place; as well as key artwork acquisitions.
Don Blankenship spent $3 million to elect Benjamin to the West Virginia Supreme Court so he could challenge a $50 million verdict against his company, becoming an iconic case study in how money corrupts politics. The case itself became an international textbook example.
Majestro assisted Benjamin in qualifying for the state’s public financing system, which is meant to level the playing field against big-money interests such as those supporting his opponents. But this system also forces candidates against one another and can cause unexpected turns in their campaigns.
Ben Crump rose from modest beginnings to amass a considerable fortune thanks to his work as an attorney specializing in civil rights cases – most notably representing African American victims of violence perpetrated by law enforcement officials.
His practice includes cases such as Trayvon Martin’s murder and Johnson & Johnson baby powder lawsuits, as well as supporting West Virginia’s drug court program.
Jeremiah Brent is well-recognized in the design world. Along with his husband Nate Berkus, he’s best known as one half of Nate & Jeremiah Home Project on HGTV where they help distressed homeowners renovate their properties. Additionally, his wife and him offer furniture line together and reside together in Los Angeles along with their children Poppy and Oskar.