What is the responsibility of museums in the wake of the Capitol Insurrection? Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, a DC-based cultural equity strategist, joins us to talk about how critical museums are in the struggle to dismantle white supremacy. We originally spoke with Kayleigh about her practice in late 2020 and planned to release that conversation on January 6, 2021. Instead, she graciously joined us for a new recording to process the violent images of that day, the care museum workers deserve from their institutions, and reflect on the power of collective action in this moment.
Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell is a cultural equity and audience engagement strategist with over 10 years of museum and nonprofit experience at the intersections of social justice and racial equity. As Head of Public Programs with the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery she is responsible for leading new outreach and inclusion initiatives towards developing new audiences and cultivating public engagement. In the wake of Covid-19 she leads an internal task force towards reopening planning and strategies. She received her Bachelor of Art in Art History from the University of Maryland, College Park and Master of Art in Museum Studies from George Washington University. She is an alum of the Claremont University Museum Leadership Institute, formerly the Getty.
Museum Workers Speak https://www.instagram.com/museumworkersspeak/?hl=en
Museums as Sites for Social Action (MASS Action) https://www.museumaction.org/
In community organizing work, there are no shortcuts or gimmicks, only relationships built on trust and continued investment. The Lawndale Pop-Up Spot is a community-led museum located in a shipping container at the Spaulding Memorial Garden, a community garden in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. Chelsea Ridley and Jonathan Kelley, the museum’s founders, trace the evolution of this project from an idea seeded in the classroom to a living space rooted in a collective vision. Along the way, they highlight moments of uncertainty, talk about forging authentic partnerships, and offer thoughts on museums of the future.
The Museum As Soup Kitchen: a paper about Museums, Responsiveness to Community Need and Social Service by Elaine Heumann Gurian http://www.egurian.com/omnium-gatherum/museum-issues/community/the-museum-as-soup-kitchen-a-paper-about-museums-responsiven
Museu de Favela https://www.museudefavela.org/
National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated https://naefimentor.wixsite.com/naefi
In this mini-episode, Paula talks with Gwendolyn Fernandez, a recovering museum educator and fellow Museum Workers Speak organizer, about embracing collaboration and breaking up with your career. Gwen will be joining the Cultura Conscious team to produce a series of new episodes featuring inspiring museum and culture workers. Look for fresh conversations on the first Wednesday of every month.
Gwen has a long fascination with what goes on behind the scenes to transform ideas into experiences that enrich our lives. As a museum educator, she focuses on developing programs, designing interpretive strategies, and fostering diverse teams to serve audiences of all ages and abilities. In 2020, she began organizing with Museum Workers Speak and collaborating with Paula. Gwen holds a B.A. in Art History and French from Hollins University and an M.A. in Museum Studies from The George Washington University. She has held positions at the Supreme Court of the United States, the National Gallery of Art, and Phoenix Art Museum. Gwen fuels her podcast obsession with distance running, gardening, and walks with her three dogs around Phoenix, Arizona.
Loss has been a constant over the past few weeks. Writer, educator and theatermaker Diane Exavier joins me to talk about personal and collective grief during a pandemic. We talk about how coping in our current moment requires some of the resiliency we’ve built through other experiences of loss, and yet those well-trodden maps still fall short of helping us navigate the present. Diane discusses how she’s processing being a writer right now, especially since she defines poetry as being about the encounter and being obsessed with the truth. Plus we finally get to talk about 90 Day Fiance, the best show on television.
Diane Exavier creates performances, public programs, and games that challenge and invite audiences to participate in an active theater that rejects passive reception. Her work has been presented at The Lark, No Longer Empty, Bushwick Starr, Haiti Cultural Exchange, Westmont College, The Flea Theater, Bowery Poetry Club, West Chicago City Museum, New Urban Arts, and more. Her writing appears in The Atlas Review and The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind, amongst other publications online and in print. Diane lives and works in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter where she tweets about basketball, poetics, and grief.
Literature and Television for the Covid-19 Age
Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler
is-not-a-luxury-audre-lorde.pdf"> Poetry is Not a Luxury by Audre Lorde
Supernova Era by Cixin Liu
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Mayra Cecilia Palafox shares with me why connecting with people and meeting their needs is so important to her. We discuss why humility is a useful practice for the present moment. When dealing with the uncertainty of a worldwide pandemic, what strengths do we have as cultural workers that prepare us to weather challenges as they present themselves? We also welcome a special guest, José Alfredo Guerrero, a musician and educator who reminds us of the strength and joy we gain from music.
Facebook: Madera Once
museum-coronavirus-closure.html"> Met Museum Prepares for $100 Million Loss and Closure Till July
Jackie Peterson, a Seattle-based exhibit developer and independent curator, is passionate about the ways exhibits can tell important stories in ways that are compelling to the public. Jackie grounds her practice on the trust she develops with communities whose stories she’s working to tell. Her research and development process adds another layer to the necessity of community engagement in cultural work. In particular, Jackie is invested in telling stories that benefit the black community and add nuance to the public’s understanding of African-American history. Like many of us invested in cultural organizations and museums, this work is deeply personal to her.
After spending much of her early career in nonprofit fundraising and working with the NYC Department of Education and teacher certification, Jackie realized that she truly belonged in a creative industry. She landed in the museum field mostly by luck, but ultimately discovered that it combined all of the things about which she was truly passionate: lifelong learning and education, social history and storytelling, and creativity. Jackie holds undergraduate degrees in English and History from Georgetown University (Washington, DC), and has pursued graduate-level coursework in Museum Studies from New York University.
Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit the West, performance by Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Coco Fusco (1992)
Northwest African American Museum's Voices of the Manhattan Project
Follow Jackie on twitter @jp_exhibitsvcs
Cristina Garza, Director of Social Impact at Mission EDC, shares the journey that led her to leave her small town in Texas for New York City, to her various roles in museums, and then back to her hometown area working in local government. She reflects with candor on all the reasons it was important and necessary for her to move on from museums, including the skills she has developed in her new career that were once out of her reach. Through her work at Mission Economic Development Corporation, she is committed to improving the financial mobility of area residents and fostering community and economic development through technology and art.
Among the programs she founded are Web of Women, an initiative to teach technical skills to women professionals, and Career Readiness and Empowerment of Women (CREW), a multidisciplinary internship that trains young high-school women to serve as leaders in STEM and entrepreneurship. She is 2017 Next City Vanguard and named by CityLab Latino one of the Top 20 Young Civic Leaders of 2017. Before her career in economic development, Cristina worked in several museums in New York City including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rubin of Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and the Brooklyn Museum.
For questions or feedback contact Paula Santos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Docents play a vital role in museums across the country. As museum education departments change and evolve, tensions have surfaced on what the role of docents should be as teaching in museums becomes more specialized. Stephanie Samera, Lead for Gallery Learning at the Columbus Museum of Art, joins me to discuss all things docent. She shares how building genuine relationships with docents has allowed her program to flourish and how her museum’s unique vision for learning and visitor experience has spurred docents to take ownership over their teaching and professional development. We touch on the role of museum leadership in creating successful docent programs, including the areas where there is room for growth, such as being intentional in diversity and inclusion efforts across the museum.
In the afterlife post-medical sciences, Stephanie Samera first discovered her passion for museums as a volunteer for the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville and has since worked at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Seattle Art Museum, and Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio. Stephanie oversees the Docent Program as Lead for Gallery Learning at the Columbus Museum of Art after serving as Manager of Group Services at the Museum of Modern Art. In addition to her extensive work in the visitor experience field, Stephanie completed her M.S.Ed. in Leadership in Museum Education at Bank Street College of Education.
Why Creativity? Articulating and Championing a Museum's Social Mission by Cindy Meyers Foley
Center for Art and Social Engagement Debuts by Jen Lehe
The Visitors' Bill of Rights by Judy Rand
What does success in the arts look like? Anabel Roque Rodriguez has been asking women in arts and culture this question for over a year. Anabel shares findings and reflections from her project so far. We touch on the power of solidarity and community in achieving success, especially for women, and how making choices that center well-being can illuminate professional and personal paths. We are frank about how job loss and institutional authority has affected our careers so far, plus how career healing is important and necessary.
Anabel Roque Rodríguez is an independent curator, art historian and writer currently based in Switzerland. She has curated exhibitions in Ecuador, Munich, and Edinburgh and works in education formats at art fairs like Art Basel as well as in the institutional museum sector. She believes that museums are not neutral and that they can facilitate empowered discourses. In her current research she is envisioning new approaches to cultural leadership, studying success in the art world and creative work in the gig economy.
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Live episode recording from Museum Educator of Southern California's 2018 Annual Institute at the Skirball Cultural Center.
My guest was Elena Muslar, Assistant Director, Entertainment and Fine Arts Professions at Loyola Marymount University. Elena was so wonderful and insightful! Our discussion veered in many directions, including breaking down the buzz versus the actual work of social justice work in arts and cultural organizations and how that manifests from our individual selves to the field at large. Her experience in museums and now higher education is so valuable. If you need a pick me up, this is definitely the episode for you!
Elena’s passions intersect at a crossroads between cultural equity, creative balance, racial justice, and arts entrepreneurship. Elena holds a BA in Theatre from Loyola Marymount University and an MFA in Theatre Management from CalArts.
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