“A collection of plants is living art,” says Jennifer Ozdoba Rominiecki ’95, president and CEO of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, Fla., a 15-acre urban, bayfront oasis showcasing rare and beautiful tropical plants.
Seeing the world with an art historian’s eyes was where her pathway began as an assistant at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. From there she moved into the world of performance art at the Metropolitan Opera, then to horticulture at The New York Botanical Garden, where she rose through leading roles of responsibility to vice president for institutional advancement.
Although not a gardener, Rominiecki is passionate about the interdisciplinary connection between horticulture and art as well as the crucial role that botanical gardens serve in plant research and conservation. That passion fueled her talent, developed through experience, in leading a $479 million campaign for The New York Botanical Garden.
Joining Selby as it prepares to celebrate 40 years of world leadership in the study and conservation of plants, particularly epiphytes, she plans to increase the number of exhibitions to draw more visitors and shore up the infrastructure to ensure long-term sustainability of the gardens.
“I am motivated by making a difference in the world,” says Rominiecki. “I have deep experience on both the programmatic and financial side, which is necessary in the nonprofit world today.”
An art history honors graduate, she looks forward to creating exhibitions that link horticulture, art, and conservation. An experience related to her thesis on Robert Rauschenberg continues
to inspire her every day. “I was at the Guggenheim when the retrospective exhibit of his work was mounted. I was able to purchase number four of the 500-limited-edition print Tag that he created for the museum. It is my most prized possession.”
—Stevie O. Daniels