Curating a New Culture: Leaders of Color in the Visual Arts

Monday, May 6, 2019 | 5:30 - 7:30 pm | Boston Center for the Arts | Mills Gallery | 539 Tremont Street | RSVPS Full | JOIN THE WAITLIST

Art museums are viewed as centers of a community’s culture and stewards of history on both local and global level. In Boston, they expand across the harbor and even have dedicated T stops. In addition, the city is dotted with galleries of all sizes, both not and for profit. With museums and galleries open to all – and sometimes free – the artists on exhibition, and often those who view it are a largely white.

Join the Network for Arts Administrators of Color to meet some of the leaders of color in Boston’s visual arts community, and hear about the on-going challenges artists and arts administrators of color face in this heavily white and Euro-centric field.

Who should attend:

  • Staff of arts organizations

  • Allies interested in advancing racial equity

  • Artists, curators & creators 


Layla Bermeo, Curator
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Layla Bermeo is the Kristin and Roger Servison Assistant Curator of Paintings in the Art of the Americas department. Before joining the MFA in 2016, she co-curated the Black History/Art History Performance Art Series at Harvard University, held curatorial fellowships in the American Art department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and at the Williams College Museum of Art, and served as a guest curator at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and graduate degrees from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art and Harvard University. At the MFA, Layla was co-curator, with Dennis Carr, of “Collecting Stories: Native American Art,” and curator of the current exhibition, “Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular.” She also organizes the Boston-based Association for Critical Race Art History Reading Group and is an active mentor for young people interested in museum careers.

Cagen Luse, Visual Artist
LunchTime Comix

Cagen Luse is a visual artist and entrepreneur. He is the artist and author of LunchTime ComiX, ( a comic series about life, love, family, and the issues people of color face in today’s world.  The Series has been published in the local Alt-weekly DIG Boston and various social media platforms. He also runs his own business, 950design, ( that produces hand-made items such as tee shirts, art prints, buttons, and note cards featuring his original artwork. Cagen is also the co-host of Comics in Color ( a monthly meet-up of enthusiasts, artists, and writers of comics by and about people of color.

Stella Aguirre McGregor, Founder & Director
URBANO Project

Stella Aguirre McGregor is an artist, curator, and cultural worker with over 30 years of experience creating ground-breaking programs nationally and internationally. Her practice explores the role of art in society, as part of everyday life, and as a catalyst for social change, culminating in her founding of Urbano in 2009Previously, Stella served as Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation, was Program Manager for Individual Artists at the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and was Senior Arts Administrator for the Boston Central Artery/Tunnel Project Public Art Program. Upon her arrival to Boston in 1986, she founded the Space, an award-winning non-profit artist-run experimental gallery in the South End. Stella has received the Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Excellence in Arts Education Award, was named one of Boston’s Top 10 Women in the Arts, and most recently the Community Builder Award by Egleston Main Street, among others.

Siddhartha V. Shah, Curator of Indian and South Asian Art
Peabody Essex Museum

Siddhartha V. Shah joined PEM in 2018 after a long career as an entrepreneurial art professional with wide-ranging interests in South Asian art. In addition to working as an independent curator, Shah specialized in Hindu and Buddhist art of the Kathmandu Valley, as well as modern and contemporary Indian art. His academic and curatorial projects have been featured in publications ranging from India Today and The Times of India to Psychology Today and The New Yorker. At PEM, Shah develops exhibitions that tell the stories of the artists, communities, and traditions of South Asia, as well as important moments in the history of the region. He works with PEM’s 2001 acquisition, the Chester and Davida Herwitz collection of post-Independence art from India, which established PEM as the first museum outside of India to focus on the achievements of its modern artists. Shah earned his B.A. in art history from Johns Hopkins University, an M.A. in East-West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University.


Maria Garcia, Senior Editor
WBUR, The ARTery

Maria Garcia is the senior editor of The ARTery, WBUR’s Arts and Culture Team. She oversees WBUR’s arts coverage for the radio and the web. Maria came to Boston from New York City where she earned a Master of Arts in journalism, with a focus on arts and culture reporting from Columbia Journalism School. Before that, Maria focused on political and investigative reporting along the U.S. – Mexico border. She is interested in arts reporting in New England’s underrepresented areas, as well as investigative stories about Boston’s legacy arts institutions.

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About the Leaders of Color in the Arts Conversation Series

Crafting a New Culture: Advancing Leaders of Color in the Visual Arts is the second conversation in a genre-specific continuation of last season’s conversation series, that shines a spotlight on people of color in leadership positions in the Boston arts sectors. Building on Paving the WayAmplifying Voices, and The Path ForwardLeaders of Color in the Arts gets to the heart of cross-sector learnings that can be adopted to create more equitable leadership opportunities for people of color in arts administration. Curating a New Culture: Leaders of Color in the Visual Arts follows December’s panel, Allegro Vivace: Advancing Leaders of Color in Classical Music, and will be followed by one more genre-specific conversation this summer.

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