Black Prominence: The Vision & Re-vision of Art and Leadership

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Black Prominence: The Vision & Re-vision of Art and Leadership

By Art Practical Editors May 2, 2018

Notes, thoughts, and recordings from events organized by Art Practical.


How do you incentivize art institutions to shift away from latent, public, or systemic white supremacy and inequitable power dynamics? As Black arts leaders, how are the programs and publics of institutions, both locally and globally, considered under current political conditions? Join Art Practical and some of California’s leading Black voices in arts leadership for a panel discussion on how they influence and challenge the pre-existing structures within art institutions.

Black Prominence: The Vision & Re-vision of Art and Leadership originally took place on March 30, 2018 at California College of the Arts.

Maria Jenson's career reflects a combination of her interests in arts and civic engagement as well as a passion for supporting strong creative communities. She relocated to the Bay Area from Los Angeles in 2009 to participate in the special kind of community building engendered by this unique region. Believing that the Bay Area radiates significant change into the global culture, and that arts are central to a strong and thriving community, Maria is proud to serve the Bay Area arts community in her role as Executive Director of SOMArts Cultural Center.

Jamillah James is Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). Previously, she held curatorial positions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, working in collaboration with the nonprofit Art + Practice; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Queens Museum, Flushing, New York; and independently organized exhibitions, performances, screenings, and public programs throughout the US and Canada since 2004. Her writing has appeared in Artforum, The International Review of African American Art, and many exhibition catalogues, including texts on Barbara Hammer, Nina Chanel Abney, Diamond Stingily, and Brenna Youngblood, among others. James regularly lectures on contemporary art, curating, and professional development for emerging artists, and is an adjunct visiting critic in the graduate department at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena.

Linda Harrison was appointed as the Executive Director of MoAD in November 2013. She has over 20 years of leadership experience in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Ms. Harrison’s professional experience in corporate management and high value real estate provided her with an outstanding background in executive leadership for MoAD; she is especially skilled in sales, marketing/outreach, and strategic planning. Prior to joining MoAD, Linda founded two San Francisco businesses, worked as a Vice President for Eastman Kodak, a Fortune 500 company, and served on multiple Bay Area nonprofit Boards of Directors. Among her board roles, she served as President of Frameline, presenters of the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, one of the country’s largest film festivals.

Essence Harden is a Ph.D. candidate, independent curator, and writer. She has curated exhibitions at Charlie James Gallery, Antenna Gallery, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), California African American Museum (CAAM), and Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD). Her writing has appeared in Performa Magazine, SFAQ: International Arts and Culture, Everyday Feminism, Palmss Magazine, and Acres. She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

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This episode is funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency.

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