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Lopez Joins the McNay as the First Curator of Latinx Art Beginning on October 2, 2023
(San Antonio, TX) The McNay Art Museum welcomed Mia Lopez as the first curator of Latinx art on Oct. 2. An expert in working with living artists, Lopez will work in many curatorial areas and collaborate cross-departmentally to expand and infuse representation of Latinx artists throughout the McNay, with a particular focus on acquisitions and programming.
“We envision the McNay as San Antonio’s place of belonging,” said Matthew McLendon, director of the McNay. “Mia, and this new role, will go a long way toward making this vision a tangible reality that our visitors will experience and will help us advance our mission to engage a diverse community in the discovery and enjoyment of the visual arts.”
A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (multiple master’s degrees in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory and Criticism and Arts Administration and Policy) and Rice University (Bachelor of Arts in Art History), Lopez has consulted on contemporary art, arts administration and Latinx art for institutions including the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (Chicago), Independent Curators International (New York), Weisman Art Museum (Minneapolis), Minneapolis College of Art and Design (Minneapolis) and many others. She has held curatorial positions with the DePaul Art Museum (Chicago) and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis). Her writing has appeared in publications by DePaul Art Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Walker Art Center, Prospect New Orleans and Arte Público Press.
Exhibitions curated or co-curated by Lopez include the upcoming online exhibition “The Backroom” at Museo Tamayo (Mexico City/Online, 2023), “LatinXAmerican” at DePaul Art Museum (Chicago, 2021) and “Remember Where You Are” at DePaul Art Museum (Chicago, 2019-2020).
Lopez has participated in many prestigious programs including the Association of Art Museum Curators Mentorship Program (2020-21), the Independent Curators International Curatorial Intensive (2018), the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Leadership Institute (2016) and the Smithsonian Institution Latino Museum Studies Program (2012).
“I am passionate about storytelling through art and amplifying the work of artists and creatives,” said Lopez. “I look forward to developing exhibitions and expanding experiences that celebrate not only the McNay’s growing collection of art but the importance of Latinx culture to the San Antonio community and beyond.”
The new position is funded by the Leadership in Art Museums (LAM) initiative through 2028. The LAM partnership — consisting of the Alice L. Walton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Mellon Foundation and Pilot House Philanthropy — is funding museums to increase racial equity in leadership roles such as curators, conservators, collections managers, community engagement staff, educators and other senior leaders in a manner designed to advance racial equity.
In LAM’s announcement, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, said, “If we want the arts in this country to stay vibrant, moving and transformational, it’s imperative that these institutions bring in more diverse perspectives and lived experiences. Leadership in Arts Museums’ vision is to grow and invest in diverse leadership at U.S. art museums to ensure their excellence and relevance in the future.”
The McNay is the only museum in Texas to be granted the award. Other museums receiving awards include, but are not limited to, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens (Jacksonville, Florida), MASS MoCA (North Adams, Massachusetts), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, Massachusetts) and the Pérez Art Museum (Miami).
“We are grateful to Mia for joining our team and to LAM for helping to make it possible,” said René Paul Barilleaux, head of curatorial affairs at the McNay. “She will substantially expand the scope of the McNay’s curatorial team while bringing a new, crucial expertise and perspective to our already outstanding group of curators.”
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About McNay Art Museum
The McNay Art Museum engages a diverse community in the discovery and enjoyment of the visual arts. Built in the 1920s by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay, the Spanish Colonial Revival residence became the site of Texas’ first modern art museum when it opened in 1954. Today, 200,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The 25 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds include sculptures by Willie Cole, Robert Indiana, Luis A. Jiménez Jr., Alejandro Martín, George Rickey, Joel Shapiro, Kiki Smith, Tom Wesselmann and others.
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The McNay is open Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from Noon to 5 p.m.