In March of 2011, after 20+ years of operating in SoHo as a petite gallery and studio space for children to explore their creativity, CMA announced their plans to move into a newly renovated, much larger facility.
The old CMA was a community hub, a meeting ground for residents, tourists, toddlers, and schoolchildren to engage in the creative arts through the tutelage of Teaching Artists.
As the Senior Curator, it was my job to smoothly transition CMA's exhibition program from a 400 sq ft corner gallery (pictured above) to a 2,000 sq ft centrally located gallery and educational resource.
The new facility was to be equipped with several art studios, a state-of-the-art media lab, classrooms, an early childhood play area, and a beautiful gallery. The design was done by Work Architecture Company.
As part of the senior staff team, I was involved in core strategies to raise funds for the capitol campaign and prepare staff and teaching artists for their new home. Responsibilities included organizing fundraisers, promotional exhibits, community outreach, and professional development.
The gallery was centrally located and functioned as a corridor for accessing all other areas of the museum. In this capacity, the gallery served many needs: educational art exhibits, hands-on workshops, guest presentations, video screenings, and relaxing rest area.
The first year in the new space was critical to the museum's success and the caliber of exhibitions needed to be top-notch. With that in mind, I sought to enlist artists and exhibition concepts that spoke to the museum's mission of access to the arts for everyone, while also demonstrating the range of creative activity employed by unique and fascinating artists.
The inaugural exhibition at CMA's new facility introduced young audiences to a group of artists past and present who go above and beyond the call of duty to make art for everyone to see. Artists included Keith Haring, Swoon, Christo & Jeanne Claude, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Moondog, Remed, and Tranqui Yanqui.
Inspired by the Japanese concept of "heta-uma", Misaki Kawai believes that everyone can be an artist regardless of skill or technical ability. The exhibition transformed the gallery into a creative hub that seamlessly interlaced Misaki's art (murals, sculpture, animation, zines, etc.) with artmaking opportunities for visitors (puppet booth, stop-motion animation stations, custom-made furniture equipped with art supplies, costumes, etc.).
Seeking to engage an older audience and also balance the fun and colorful exhibits with something darker and more mature, The Galaxseum was born. The late RAMM:ELL:ZEE was a hip-hop pioneer, graffiti writer, painter, sculptor, performance artist, and polygot genius who spent decades in his Battle Station creating art from found objects and refining a mythology/manifesto of his own called Gothic Futurism.
In addition to mounting exhibitions, I also managed a Permanent Collection of children's art from over 50 countries and dating back to the 1930s. I am extremely proud of overall collection, as well as the new collections accessioned during my tenure. This exhibition showcased antique children's art from the Permanent Collection, contemporary children's art and artwork by CMA Teaching Artists.
Thank you to CMA for all the great projects, wonderful people, creative energy and success!