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2013 Conference Panel Descriptions & Bios
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Keynote Speaker:  Holland Cotter

Holland Cotter is co-chief art critic and a senior writer at the New York Times. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2009. In 2010, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for Art Writing by the College Art Association. 

He is a 2012 Poynter Fellow in Journalism at Yale University, and the recipient of the 2012 Religion and the Arts Award from the American Academy of Religion. In April 2013, he will be an Alain LeRoy Locke lecturer at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

He has an A.B. from Harvard College, where he studied poetry with Robert Lowell; an M.A. in America Modernism from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and an M.Phil. in South Asian art, with a focus on early Indian Buddhist art, from Columbia University.
He was for many years a contributing editor to Art in America, and an editorial associate of Art News.
He lives in New York City with his spouse, Joe Rosch.

Panel:  Museums and Civic Responsibility

This panel will present unique models and case studies illustrating the diverse roles that museums have within their communities, including new strategies for audience engagement and development. How do these models affect curatorial practice and the educational mission of museums?

Julian Cox
joined the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in fall 2010 as its Founding Curator ofPhotography and Chief Curator. He was educated in Great Britain and holds a BA in Art History from the University of Manchester and an M.Phil in the History of Photography from the University College of Wales. After holding curatorial positions at the National Library of Wales and the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford, England, he moved to the United States in 1992 to pursue his career here. For more than a decade he worked with the photographs collection at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and then spent five years leading the photography program at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Cox has organized numerous exhibitions on subjects ranging from the dawn of photography’s invention in Europe in the 19th century, to contemporary practice in the United States.

Cox is the co-author, with Colin Ford, of the critically acclaimed publication: Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs (2003), the first catalogue raisonné produced on the work of a photographer. He is the author of many scholarly articles and several books. His publications include:- The Portrait Unbound: Photographs by Robert Weingarten (2010), Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968 (2008), and Harry Callahan: Eleanor (2007).

Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers is Curator of African Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA). He received his PhD in Social Anthropology from The University of Chicago and specializes in the art and history of the Ubangi Region in Central Africa. He is interested in the question of how to represent, in a museum setting, the movement of people, objects, and ideas within the African continent and between Africa and the rest of the world. He is currently re-installing the African galleries at the MIA, scheduled to reopen in November 2013; he is also preparing a major traveling exhibition on "Islamic Africa: Art and Architecture" for 2016.

Salvador Salort-Pons is the Head of the European Art Department and Elizabeth and Allan Shelden Curator of European Paintings at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). For the DIA Salort-Pons has recently organized the exhibition Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries, Five Spanish Masterpieces and has been the in-house curator for the show Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus. Prior to coming to Detroit, Salort-Pons was senior curator at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, assistant professor at the University of Madrid and exhibition curator at the Memmo Foundation in Rome. While at the Memmo Foundation, he co-curated Il trionfo del colore: Collezione Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza (Rome, 2002) as well as Velázquez (Rome, 2001), which was the first monographic exhibition on the painter ever organized in Italy. Salort-Pons has been the recipient of a Rome Prize Fellowship at the Spanish Academy of Rome and a research fellow at the Royal College of Spain in Bologna, the Getty Grant Program, the Medici Archive Project in Florence and Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, among others.

In addition to two books—Velázquez in Italy (Madrid, 2002) and Velázquez (Madrid, 2008)— Salort-Pons has published a number of scientific articles in British, Spanish and Italian journals and exhibition catalogues. A native of Spain, he holds a master’s in geography and history (University of Madrid), a master’s in business administration (Cox School of Business, SMU) and a doctorate in the history of art (University of Bologna).

Robert Stein is the Deputy Director of the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) where he leads the staff and the DMA’s active programs of Education, Conservation, Technology, and Research. Stein led the DMA’s efforts to become the first museum in the U.S. to offer both free general admission and free membership in 2013. By launching the innovative DMA Friends program, Stein pioneered a platform of visitor engagement at scale that changes the face of participation in museums. In 2012, Stein founded the Laboratory for Innovation in Museum Technology at the DMA, applying the principles of startup venture capital to solving classic problems in museums. Stein also established funding for Visitor Research and Evaluation to investigate common visitor experiences between art and science museums. Prior to his role in Dallas, Rob served as the Deputy Director for Research, Technology, and Engagement at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Under Stein’s leadership, the museum launched a pioneering effort in support of museum transparency called, the IMA Dashboard. Stein is Project Director and Technical Lead of the Steve.Museum project since 2006 and continues to advocate for user-generated content that can be usefully integrated with museum practice. In 2009, Stein created the award winning video website, that brings together more than 55 international organizations creating a true destination channel for art video online. In 2010 he founded the TAP open-source mobile platform and established the TourML standard for mobile museum content. Stein serves on the board of the Museum Computer Network, the board of Project Audience, the advisory board of the NMC’s Horizon Report for Museums, the International Program Committee for Museums and the Web and on Advisory committees for the online image resource, ArtStor and also, a part of the Art Genome Project. He continues to be active in writing and speaking on topics related to museum technology, transparency, and strategy.

Innovative Conservation Collaborations

Collaborations between curators and conservators have expanded as museums explore new audiences, collecting interests, and publication formats. This panel will present a number of recent curatorial/conservation collaborations that can be considered innovative. The panelists will move beyond case studies to discuss what was successful, and what lessons they learned from the experience. 


Grace Jan is the Assistant Chinese Painting Conservator at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, where she is supported by the Stockman Family Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Since 2009, she has worked on the museums’ Chinese painting and calligraphy collection alongside Ms. Xiangmei Gu, senior Chinese painting conservator. She has expertise in a range of formats including hanging scrolls, handscrolls, folding albums, and panel paintings. Ms. Jan supports the museums’ educational program for Chinese painting conservation. She teaches a class on the care and handling of East Asian paintings and is active in training visiting fellows from Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan.

Ms. Jan has a M.A. (History of Art and Archeology) and Advanced Certificate (Conservation of Historic Works of Art) from the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU, where she studied western paper conservation, specializing in Chinese mounting. She has received training in Chinese painting conservation from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Shanghai Museum and Beijing Palace Museum.

Thomas Learner is Senior Scientist and Head of Modern and Contemporary Art Research at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in Los Angeles. He has a PhD in chemistry (University of London, 1997), a Diploma in conservation of easel paintings (Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 1991), and an MA in Chemistry (Oxford University, 1988).

At the GCI, he oversees a number of research projects on modern art materials, including how modern paints, plastics and outdoor painted surfaces can be scientifically analyzed, how they will alter with time, and how to best conserve them. He also organizes workshops, conferences, and network meetings for conservators and scientists around the world in order to share results and ideas more effectively, such as The Object in Transition conference (held at the Getty in 2008), and the Cleaning Acrylic Painted Surfaces workshops (Getty, Los Angeles, 2009; MoMA, New York, 2011; and Tate, London, 2012). Most recently he has been working on a study of materials and fabrication processes of the sculptors of Los Angeles who were active in the 1960s and 1970s. The main focus of this research has been to curate an exhibition at the Getty: From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentines Gray Column which examines the story behind the creation of this colossal polyester work of art, and discusses issues about its conservation.

Before joining the Getty in 2007, he was Senior Conservation Scientist at the Tate in London, where he coordinated a major collaborative research project between Tate, the GCI and the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, into the conservation issues of modern paints, culminating in the Modern Paints Uncovered symposium, held at Tate Modern in 2006. Learner sits on the advisory committees for INCCA (the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art), RPM (Rescue Public Murals), and the Guggenheim’s Panza Collection Initiative. He is also serving his second term as coordinator for the Modern Materials and Contemporary Art working group of ICOM-CC. He has published two books: The Impact of Modern Paints (2000) and Analysis of Modern Paints (2004).

Michele Marincola is Sherman Fairchild Chairman and Professor of Conservation of the Conservation Center at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She is also managing conservator for NYU’s Villa La Pietra in Florence, Italy and is part-time conservator for The Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s branch museum devoted to medieval art. Professor Marincola’s research interests include the conservation and technical art history of sculpture, as well as the history and ethics of art conservation.

Matthew Skopek: Assistant Conservator Matt Skopek earned a BA from Franklin & Marshall College, received a post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Conservation from Studio Art Centers International, and a MA and Certificate of Advanced Study in Conservation from Buffalo State College. Specializing in the conservation of modern and contemporary painting, he worked for five years at the Museum of Modern Art before assuming his current position in 2007. In addition to his work on the preservation and care of the Whitney's permanent collection, he is engaged in ongoing research involving the materials and techniques of Edward Hopper, Wade Guyton and Rachel Harrison, as well as the design and development of the expanded Conservation Department studio at the Whitney’s future location in the Meatpacking District.

Ian Wardropper has served as the Director of The Frick Collection since the fall of 2011. After completing his Ph.D. at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, he was curator and later head of the department of European Decorative Arts, and Sculpture, and Ancient Art at The Art Institute of Chicago for nineteen years, until returning to New York in 2001 as Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Chairman of the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has organized over twenty exhibitions in his specialties of European sculpture, earlier decorative arts, and twentieth-century design and decorative arts. He has taught art history at six universities and published numerous books, catalogues, and articles. His most recent publications include European Sculpture, 1400-1900, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Bernini: Sculpting in Clay.

Panel: Participation, Engagement & the Curator

The new participatory museum model suggests rethinking of curatorial practice. This multi-disciplinary panel will explore new trends in visitor and community experiences through various platforms. What are the challenges, implications, and opportunities both within our institutions and externally?


Catherine Evans
joined the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) in 1996 as the Curator of Photography and has also served as the Chief Curator. In 2001 she spearheaded the acquisition of the Photo League collection for which the museum is known nationally and internationally. Evans was appointedthe first William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography at the Museum in 2011. She served as coauthor and co-curator of The Radical Camera, New York’s Photo League, 1936-1951 (Yale, 2011). Evans is a 2012 Tedx presenter. Currently she serves as the VP of Governance on AAMC’s Board of Trustees. Prior to CMA, she was an assistant curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. 

Seb Chan is currently the Director of Digital & Emerging Media, Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Prior to joining Cooper-Hewitt he led the Digital, Social and Emerging Technologies department at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, where he oversaw the implementation of Open Access and Creative Commons licensing policies and many projects exploring new ways for visitors and citizens to engage and contribute to the Powerhouse’s collection. Chan was a member of the Australian Government’s Government 2.0 Taskforce and, as a consultant, has helped organisations and institutions all over the world strategise and implement cutting-edge technologies in the cultural sector. He also writes about museums, technology and digital strategy at

Kathleen McLean is principal of Independent Exhibitions, a museum consulting firm specializing in exhibition development, design, programming, and strategic planning. From January 1994 through September 2004 she was the Director of the Center for Public Exhibition and Public Programs at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, California, where she directed the major revisioning and strategic planning project, "Refocusing on the Floor.” Other projects she directed at the Exploratorium include the national award-winning traveling exhibition, Memory; a visitor/storytelling research project called Finding Significance; and Seeing, a 10,000 square-foot permanent art and science exhibit installation.

Since 1974, McLean has designed and developed a wide range of exhibitions for public audiences in museums of history, art, and science, as well as interdisciplinary and children’s museums. Many of the exhibitions she has developed focus on social issues and public response. From 1986 to 1990, McLean established and led the first exhibitions department at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights, New York.

In 2006, Kathleen McLean was selected for the American Association of Museums’ Centennial Honor Role, as one of 100 museum professionals to have made a significant contribution to American museums over the last 100 years.

McLean is co-author of the IMLS-funded book, The Convivial Museum;co-editor of the IMLS-funded book,Visitor Voices in Museum Exhibitions; co-editor of the NSF-funded book, Are We There Yet? Conversations about Best Practices in Science Exhibition Development; and author of Planning for People in Museum Exhibitions. For 10 years she was the exhibition review editor of Curator: The Museum Journal, and has widely published and spoken on museum design, informal learning, and exhibitions. She has served on panels and committees of the American Association of Museums, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Academies of Science, and the National Science Foundation, among others.

Christina Olsen is the Class of 1956 Director of the Williams College Museum of Art. Before coming to Williams in 2012 she was Director of Education and Public Programs at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. Over the course of her career she has developed a number of high profile initiatives centered on public participation, digital publication for museum-based scholarship, and the transformation of museums into sites of artistic, public, and scholarly production. She created the highly successful program Shine a Light with Portland State University’s Social Practice Program in 2009, and in 2011 launched the initiative Object Stories, an installation, publishing platform, and online archive in which museum visitors tell stories about objects in their life, and objects in the museum ( Before coming to Portland Olsen worked at the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles, where she oversaw the Getty’s worldwide grants to museums and archives for research and interpretation. She also developed and launched the Getty's influential initiative Online Scholarly Cataloguing Initiative, which seeks to create new sustainable models for online publishing of museum-based scholarship. And a very long time ago, she began and oversaw the Getty Museum’s interactive programs division, which produced and delivered curatorial and education content across mobile, computer-based and web platforms.

Olsen has lectured, taught, and written on a broad range of topics, including the changing face of museums in the 21st century, old and new notions of the public, and secular art in 15th century Italy. She has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in Italian Renaissance Art and received her BA from the University of Chicago.

Nina Simon has been described as a "museum visionary” by Smithsonian Magazine for her audience-centered approach to design. She is currently the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, where she led an institutional turnaround based on grassroots community participation. Nina teaches in the University of Washington Museology graduate program and is the author of The Participatory Museum (2010) and the popular Museum 2.0 blog. Previously, Nina worked as an independent consultant to over one hundred museums and cultural centers around the world and an interactive exhibit design in science and history museums. Nina began her museum career as Experience Development Specialist at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.

Curatorial Short Courses: Public Speaking 


This interactive and engaging Public Speaking workshop will strengthen skills for effective public communication. Topics to be covered will include audience-centered communication, verbal and non-verbal components of communication, and elements of persuasion.

Featured presenter:

Dr. Tannenbaum is president of Dynamic Communication, LLC and is a faculty member in the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University. Barbara has extensive experience in developing and delivering persuasive messages. Dynamic Communication has been delivering communications programs to professionals for over twenty years.

Her work in the non-profit sector includes trainings for Rhode Island School of Design, The Center for Curatorial Leadership, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Art – Boston, Princeton University, Wellesley College, Barnard College, and the Chief Judges Council.

Hundreds of executives in the global commercial sector from firms such as the International Monetary Fund, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Intel, IBM, Wragge & Co. (England), Chanel (France), CVS, Microsoft (USA, Mexico, Canada, Brazil), Google (USA, Ireland, Singapore, France), and others have participated in Dynamic Communication programs, learning how to maximize the power of their communications.

Dr. Tannenbaum has been awarded many professional and academic honors, including Business & Professional Women’s Businesswoman of the Year and numerous outstanding professor-of-the-year awards at Brown University.

Barbara earned her doctorate in communication studies with a minor in social psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research interests include gender and communication and how power is achieved via persuasiveness.

Curatorial Short Courses:
Grant Writing

This workshop will begin with a 90-minute introduction to effective grant writing, followed by a 90-minute panel comprised on art museum funders. Panelists will share their insights on the goals of their respective foundations, and what they look for in exemplary funding proposals.

Featured presenters:
James Bewley is Senior Program Officer at the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served as Director of Public Programs & Education at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles where he was responsible for organizing hundreds of lectures, screenings, and cultural events. From 1999-2004, he was Program Director at the San Francisco alternative space, New Langton Arts. Bewley is also a visual and performing artist whose work has been presented in galleries, theaters, and basements across the country. He is a co-creator and voice talent for the award-winning web animations, Strindberg and Helium, and is the producer and host of the Gowanus Canal-centric podcast and webseries, Dale Radio. He received an honorary BA in Theater from Brown University and a BFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Brooklyn.

Leeanne M. G-Bowley
is the manager of national training at the Foundation Center. She helps build the capacity of nation’s nonprofits by coordinating the Center’s varied and rich curriculum around the country. She is also on the Center’s faculty leveling the playing field for nonprofits through the facilitation of professional development and training classes. Ms G-Bowley is a member of the Foundation Center’s New York library staff.

Ms G-Bowley also represents the Foundation Center as a panelist and presenter at nonprofit workshops sponsored by elected officials such as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and State Senator Malcolm A. Smith. She has served as a press representative for the Foundation Center regarding funding for the arts.

Prior to joining the Center in 2006, Leeanne worked at St. John’s University’s School of Education where she assisted the Chair of the Department of Administration in the creation of their School Building Leadership program. She also contributed to projects such as the launch of a complete online version of their Master’s and Professional Diploma program and securing government funding.

Ms G-Bowley is the artistic/executive director of a grassroots dance company based in in Queens, NY. She is currently serving as the Chair of the Dance/NYC Junior Committee and is a member of Americans for the Arts and the Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor society. She is active in advocacy and has a particular interest in developing civic leadership amongst her peer group.

Leeanne holds a B.A. in Government and Politics and a M.S. in School Administration and Supervision from St. John’s University.

Carrie Haslett is the Program Officer for Exhibition and Academic Program Grants at the Terra Foundation for American Art. Prior to joining the foundation in 2006, Dr. Haslett was the Joan Whitney Payson Curator of Modern Art at the Portland Museum of Art and the Martin Z. Kruse Research Associate in American Art at The Huntington Library. She has also held positions at the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Studio in a School Association, and two auction houses. She received her Ph.D. in the History of Art from Bryn Mawr College.

Paula Marincola is the Executive Director of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage; she was named its first ED in June 2008. In that capacity, she leads the organization in developing and implementing its strategic agenda as both grantsmaker and thought leader, guiding and aligning the Center’s programs in the service of its mission.

Established in 2005 and located in Philadelphia, PA, the Center is dedicated to fostering and supporting a vibrant cultural community in the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania area through its seven grant-making areas: Dance, Heritage, Exhibitions, the Pew Fellowships in the Arts; Music, Cultural Management, and Theater. Collectively, the Center’s programs annually invest approximately $7 million in culture in the region, and in their history to date have made more than $82 million in funds available to the area’s cultural community. 

In addition to her duties as Center ED, Paula Marincola maintains her position as Director of the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, the Center’s visual arts program; she was also the program designer at its inception in 1997. Within the Exhibitions program, she has also produced "Curating Now: Imaginative Practice/Public Responsibility,” a major symposium on curatorial practice with an international roster of participating curators and museum directors. She has published these proceedings in a book that has been distributed internationally and is used extensively as a text in museum and curatorial studies courses. She is the editor and a contributor to Questions of Practice: What Makes a Great Exhibition?, a volume of Center-commissioned essays published in October 2006 and which has been distributed internationally. She also conceptualizes and produces capacity building activities for the visual arts community including curatorial roundtables, lectures, and workshops. She is at work with co-editor Ralph Rugoff on a new anthology devoted to curatorial innovation.

Prior to her work with Pew, she was a curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, and at Arcadia University. She also wrote art criticism for several prestigious journals. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in art history of Syracuse University.

Helen Wechsler joined IMLS in December 2009 and currently serves as a supervisory grants management specialist in the Office of Museum Services where she heads a team focusing on grants that address learning experiences in museums. She has also been involved in IMLS initiatives involving 21st century skills, early learning, and digital media and learning. She came to IMLS from the American Architectural Foundation where she served as Vice President for Communication and Partnership Development. Prior to that, she spent 17 years at the American Association of Museums where she directed Strategic Initiatives and Special Projects focusing on institutional planning and leadership. She also served as Director of International and Ethics Programs at AAM directing an international museum partnership program, overseeing the development of ethics guidelines for the museum field, and serving on two U.S. delegations negotiating international agreements on cultural property topics. Helen holds an M.A. in the history of Asian art from the University of Michigan and has lectured and published on Hindu temple architecture.

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