Phoenix Art Museum Appoints Chief Curator And Director Of Curatorial Affairs And Engagement

Phoenix Art Museum has appointed Olga Viso as the Selig Family Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs and Engagement, effective immediately.

By: Jun. 08, 2023
Phoenix Art Museum Appoints Chief Curator And Director Of Curatorial Affairs And Engagement

Phoenix Art Museum has appointed Olga Viso as the Selig Family Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs and Engagement, effective immediately. Viso, a seasoned arts leader, curator, and scholar, has been working with the Museum for the past year as a part-time curator-at-large and a senior curatorial advisor.

In taking on the chief curator role, Viso will join a newly created executive leadership team, which also includes the promotion of Allan Alvarado to chief financial and operating officer and Nikki deLeon Martin to chief advancement officer. Together, the team of Viso, Alvarado, and deLeon Martin will oversee all of the Museum's departments and work closely with Jeremy Mikolajczak, the Museum's Sybil Harrington Director and CEO, and the Board of Trustees, to set and implement the institutional vision.

“We are thrilled to have Olga join us in a more permanent capacity and build on the incredible work she has already been doing for the Museum and in the community,” said Jeremy Mikolajczak. “She has already proven to be an invaluable thought-partner for me and the team, and her unparalleled experience as an arts leader and curator makes her an exceptional choice to lead our curatorial team and help shape our education and engagement programs. In creating this new executive team, Olga, Alan, and Nikki will harness their individual leadership strengths to work alongside me to amplify the Museum's role as a cultural anchor in our community and for the Southwest.”

Since joining the Museum in 2022, Viso has organized and curated exhibitions such as Juan Francisco Elso: Por América (on view through September 17, 2023), overseen new artist commissions, and advised on overall acquisitions and curatorial strategies. Bringing more than 30 years of experience working in museums both as an arts administrator and a curator of contemporary art with a focus on Latin American art, she will oversee the Museum's curatorial division, as well as modern and contemporary art exhibitions and acquisitions. As part of this appointment, the Museum's education and engagement departments will now also report to Viso.

“I am excited to take on this new role at Phoenix Art Museum to expand upon my curatorial work and continue to engage with and present leading artists practicing today,” said Olga Viso. “Since arriving in Phoenix I have witnessed the integral role that this Museum plays in our community as a convener and cultural destination. I look forward to helping shape the Museum's curatorial, education, and engagement programs and collaborating with Nikki, Allan, and Jeremy to ensure the institution's long-term success and sustainability.”

DeLeon Martin, currently the Museum's deputy director since April 2022, has been with the museum for more than a decade overseeing communications, marketing, public relations, membership, security, visitor services, human resources, and retail services. Previously, she oversaw education and engagement, as well as annual giving and affiliate groups. As deputy director and chief advancement officer, she will be responsible for all fundraising, membership, visitor services, human resources, and external affairs. Alvarado joined the Museum as chief financial officer in July 2022. As chief financial and operating officer, he will oversee all museum operations, including facilities and maintenance, security, retail services, event rentals, and information technology. DeLeon Martin and Alvarado assume their new roles on June 26, 2023.

“Olga is deeply respected not only in the national and international art world but also in the Phoenix community, where her deep passion for the arts and commitment to mentorship make her the perfect fit for this role,” said Donald Opatrny, chair of the Museum's Board of Trustees. “We have been fortunate to benefit from Olga's expertise over the past year, and we are delighted that she is now a permanent member of our executive leadership team. Olga, Allan, and Nikki's deep experience and dedication to advancing the Museum's mission as a community and cultural resource will ensure our new management team, working in concert with Jeremy, will lead our museum into a dynamic future.”

Before coming to Phoenix, Viso served as director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis for a decade, and prior to that spent 12 years as director and curator at the Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. She has curated numerous landmark solo and group exhibitions, including monographic surveys of artists such as Jim Hodges, Guillermo Kuitca, Ana Mendieta, and Juan Muñoz. In addition to her fulltime role with PhxArt, Viso will continue as a senior advisor at ASU's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, where she develops academic partnerships for the university with art museums (including PhxArt) and supports the ASU-LACMA master's fellowship program in art history, a collaboration between the university and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that invests in the advancement of museum professionals of color already working in museums.

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