Dennis Scholl is a collector of contemporary art whose willingness to experiment and encourage artists and curators to push boundaries is well known in the art world. He and his wife Debra have the largest private collection of Aboriginal Australian art in the US. They just completed touring a show drawn from the collection entitled, “No Boundaries: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Abstract Painting,” to six U.S. museums. They also have a second exhibit focusing on women Aboriginal Australian contemporary artists entitled, “Marking the Infinite”, which is touring to six museums across North America.
Over the last 20 years, Scholl created a series of initiatives dedicated to building the contemporary art collections of museums, including the Guggenheim, the Tate Modern and the Pérez Art Museum Miami, which resulted in hundreds of patron-funded art acquisitions. He has served on the boards and executive committees of the Aspen Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; the Pérez Art Museum; and the Linda Pace Foundation. He was named three times to the annual WESTAF list of the Most Powerful and Influential Leaders in the Nonprofit Arts, and along with his wife, Debra, recently received the National Service in the Arts Award from the Anderson Ranch Art Center.
He is an eleven-time regional Emmy winner for his work in cultural documentaries, including films about Tracey Emin, Theaster Gates, Wynton Marsalis and Frank Gehry. His first feature documentary “Deep City: The Birth of Miami Sound”, premiered at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival. He recently produced an animated short, “The Sun as a Big Dark Animal”, which was an official selection at the 2015 Sundance International Film Festival. Scholl’s second feature documentary, “Queen of Thursdays”, which he co-wrote and produced with noted Cuban filmmaker Orlando Rojas, had its world premiere at the Miami International Film Festival and was named Best Documentary. He is the co-founder of Betts & Scholl, and Mother Tongue Shiraz, which produce award-winning wines in Australia and France.
From 2009 to 2015, Scholl was the Vice President / Arts of the Knight Foundation. He oversaw the foundation’s national arts program, including the Knight Arts Challenge and Random Acts of Culture, with grants to cultural organizations totaling close to $200 million.
In 2012, Scholl was named a Harvard University Advanced Leadership Fellow, focusing on the role of culture in community engagement. From 2012 to 2015, Scholl was a Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.
Previously, Scholl was a practicing attorney and CPA.