Assistant Curator, San Antonio Museum of Art
What do you love about your job?
I am continually learning. Whether it be researching an artwork, talking with a colleague, or visiting an artist’s studio, working at an art museum offers endless opportunities to discover and engage with new ideas. While my focus is on contemporary art, by working at an encyclopedic museum, I can make connections across cultures and time periods represented in our permanent collection, which I find incredibly rewarding. The exciting part of working with contemporary art and artists is that it’s global and constantly changing.
Why are museums important?
Museums like SAMA that house permanent collections have the important responsibility of preserving art and material culture for future generations. This is no small feat to care for 30,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of history from cultures all over the world! Beyond this role as a repository, museums have an expanded position and duty to engage with our communities and foster ongoing dialogues. Through research and interpretation, acquisition of new artworks, special exhibitions, educational programs, and more, museums can offer new perspectives on art, life, and our shared histories. In this historic moment, when longstanding racial and socio-economic inequities have been magnified by the pandemic, there is great potential for museums to be sites of social awareness and change. It is ongoing work to expand the diversity of voices in our galleries, programs, and staff, but that work is vital.
What project are you currently working on?
I am working on an installation of recent photography acquisitions that will be on view later this spring. The museum’s photography collection has grown exponentially over the past several years through generous gifts of art and strategic acquisitions. I am excited to share works that will be on view for the first time by Christina Fernandez, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Leonard Freed, Earlie Hudnall Jr., and Danny Lyon. These photographers span different generations and backgrounds, but their images are united by an insightful awareness of everyday life in America, especially the experiences of marginalized communities. These powerful works are visually rich but also socially conscious. I am very interested in society’s relationship to photography. It is the one artistic medium that we all utilize in our daily lives. I hope visitors will make connections between the works and their own surroundings, as well as each other.
Do you have any advice for people who want to learn more about art?
If there is a silver lining to the pandemic, it is the wealth of resources that are now available online. Last spring, museums had to pivot quickly to transition our programming to virtual platforms. There are countless artist conversations, lectures, and tours that are now available to peruse from the comfort of your home presented by arts organizations across the globe. SAMA has regular offerings that you can tune in to live or view later on our website and YouTube channel. My best piece of advice for learning about art is to get out there and see as much as you can. Many art spaces in town are open and taking all the necessary pandemic precautions, if you are comfortable visiting in person. I am eagerly awaiting the day when we can all visit these places together and more freely!