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Both Sides of the Board
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Both sides of the Board
October 21, 2014


Curators have frequent interactions with boards, both at their own institutions, and as board members of non-profits themselves. What are the best practices in both cases? What are the advantages and disadvantages of being on either side?

This webinar will discuss the role of the board in a non-profit organization, delving into legal and ethical responsibilities. It will outline the ways in which curators can work successfully with the boards of their own institutions, as well as reasons and strategies for becoming board members of other organizations. Panelists will discuss their experiences on both sides of the board, and discuss their methods for dealing with some of the complex situations that arise. 

Organizers and Moderators
Miranda Lash, Curator of Contemporary Art, Speed Museum of Art, University of Chicago
Jennifer Scanlan, Independent Curator

Deborah Cullen, Director and Chief Curator, The Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Gallery, Columbia University
Emily Ballew Neff, AAMC President

Additional Resources

(Click on the link below to download a PDF or visit the website)
Board Source, the only national organization focused exclusively on nonprofit governance
Roberts Rules of Order Revised,
 by General Henry M. Robert
"Constructing a Partnership," Board Member, Volume 15, Number 5

Moderator and Panelist Biographies
(listed alphabetically)

Deborah Cullen, Director & Chief Curator of The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University, is leading the gallery's expansion and re-envisioning into a new, Renzo Piano Building Workshop arts center on the rising "Manhattanville" campus at 125th Street & Broadway, scheduled to open in 2016.

Cullen's recent personal curatorial projects include
Robert Blackburn: Passages (The Driskell Center, UMD-College Park, 2014). Cullen wrote her dissertation on Blackburn and worked for his Printmaking Workshop. In 2013, she curated Interruption: The 30th Biennial of Graphic Arts (Ljubljana); in 2012, she was chief curator of The Hive: The Third Poligraphic Trienal of San Juan (Puerto Rico).

Previously, Cullen served at El Museo del Barrio, NY, for over 15 years. Projects included
Retro/Active: The Work of Rafael Ferrer (2010, and his monograph for UCLA’s CSRC “A Ver” series); Nexus New York: Latin/American Artists in the Modern Metropolis (2009) and Arte (no es) Vida: Actions by Artists of the Americas 1960-2000 (2008).

Deborah Cullen has served on the Board of the AAMC and the Institute of Cultural Inquiry, LA. She has served on the Steering Committee for the Contemporary Curators' Group, as a Governor for The Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, and on several Advisory Councils. Additionally, she was an Executor and is currently a Trustee for the Estate of Robert Blackburn.

Miranda Lash
is curator of contemporary art at the Speed Art Museum, where she began working in August 2014. At the Speed Lash is overseeing new commissions for the upcoming Elizabeth P. and Frederick K. Cressman Art Park, and organizing the reinstallation of the permanent collection for the new building designed by wHY architecture, both of which are scheduled to open in April 2016. Prior to the Speed, Lash was curator of modern and contemporary art the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). She joined NOMA in 2008 as the museum’s first curator dedicated exclusively to modern and contemporary art, and the founder of NOMA’s modern and contemporary art department. At NOMA Lash also managed NOMA’s Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden—a five-acre setting for masterpieces of modern and contemporary sculpture built around an existing landscape of lagoons and live oaks.  During her tenure at NOMA, Lash curated over twenty exhibitions, including the traveling retrospective exhibition Mel Chin: Rematch; Rashaad Newsome: King of Arms; Katie Holten: Drawn to the Edge; Swoon: Thalassa, and Camille Henrot: Cities of Ys. Lash’s essays have been published in numerous sources including the Harvard journal Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics, the anthology Baroque Tendencies in Contemporary Art, and New American Painting. Lash has been named a Fellow at the Clark Art Institute, a past consultant for Creative Capital, and one of the co-founders of the arts criticism website Pelican Bomb. Prior to her appointment at NOMA Lash was curatorial assistant at The Menil Collection in Houston.  She received her BA in the History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University, and her MA in Art History from Williams College. 

Emily Ballew Neff
most recently Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director and Chief Curator of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, has been President of AAMC since May 2013. She also was founding curator of American Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she helped the trustees and institution’s leadership establish a significant presence for the museum in the field of American art, grew the museum’s collections by more than 30 percent, built a dynamic patron support group, organized more than 20 exhibitions at the museum, and coordinated 14 traveling shows from other institutions. Interested in organizing exhibitions that push the field of American art in new and innovative directions, Neff most recently mounted American Adversaries: West and Copley in a Transatlantic World, which received praise for its innovative approach to exhibition colonial art in a global context. Its exhibition catalogue earned an award from Tyler Green as MAN’s best art book of the year for 2013. Other exhibitions include The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890-1950, a show of more than 100 paintings and photographs, including paintings of the Santa Fe Indian School, that examined the role the American West played in the development of American modernism, and John Singleton Copley in England, based on her dissertation on the same subject, which revealed the entrepreneurial role the Boston colonial painter played on London’s 18th-century artistic stage. An exhibition particularly celebrated in Houston, American Made: 250 Years of American Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, presented in 2012, highlighted for the first time in the museum’s history the superb quality and dramatic expansion of its collection. Neff also authored Frederic Remington: The Hogg Brothers Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the first major catalog to document this historically important collection and the Hogg family patron who created it. She has also served as a frequent lecturer and teacher, and served in 2010 as the H.E.R.E. Distinguished Lecturer at Rice University, Houston. Neff holds a B.A. in Art History from Yale University, an M.A. in Art History from Rice University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recent Fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership in New York City, and currently serves as President of the Association of Art Museum Curators.

Jennifer Scanlan
is a New York-based independent curator focusing on contemporary art and design.  Her most recent exhibition was Back to Eden: Contemporary Artists Wander the Garden at the Museum of Biblical Art, NYC, and she is working on an upcoming exhibition the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Prior to working independently, for twelve years, she was Associate Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design, where she organized a number of exhibitions, including Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design. She has also taught at Courtauld Institute of Art Summer School in London, England, and is currently part-time faculty at Parsons The New School for Design. She has a BA in Art History and Italian from Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, and an MA in the History of Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture from the Bard Graduate Center, New York, New York. 


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