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ASU Art Museum announces Miki Garcia as new director

woman's portrait in art gallery
August 21, 2017

Former Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) Miki Garcia is joining Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts as the new director of the ASU Art Museum.

“Miki is a great choice for ASU,” said Arizona State University Herberger Institute Dean Steven J. Tepper. “She is a seasoned museum director with extensive experience growing her institution, building her board, securing investments and creating powerful programming.”

Garcia, who will officially begin at the ASU Art Museum on Dec. 1, has been the leader of MCASB since 2005. Under her direction, MCASB grew from a grassroots alternative arts space to a financially sustainable, internationally recognized contemporary art museum.

As chief curator, she oversaw curatorial and public strategies that received significant accolades from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Getty Foundation and the James Irvine Foundation, among others. This September, MCASB will open the first in-depth exhibition of Guatemalan art from the late 20th and early 21st centuries as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time initiative.

“One of my passions is reimagining the potential of art and museums to impact the lives of all people in the spirit of inclusivity, equity and diversity,” Garcia said. “I am fiercely committed to the future of the museum and the role of arts in society. I am so excited to join the Arizona State University Art Museum, a museum within one of the most innovative public research universities in the country dedicated to inclusion; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.”

Earlier in her arts career, Garcia was project coordinator at the Public Art Fund in New York City and curatorial associate at Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. She has served as a curatorial representative to the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., on behalf of the Getty Foundation and has been a juror for the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital Visual Arts Awards, Art Matters Foundation and more. She has her MA in art history from University of Texas, Austin and specializes in Latin American and Latinx Art. 

Phoenix seemed like a natural fit to Garcia.

“It’s the fifth-largest city in the United States, and it’s going to experience so much demographic growth and change in the next decade. I am thrilled to be a part of that,” Garcia said. “I think people across the country will be looking to Arizona in the next couple of years as a case study in change.”

“ASU Art Museum has been recognized as among the most important contemporary art museums in the region, with exhibitions and programming that have attracted global attention,” Tepper added. “Miki will help us leverage this reputation and the talent of our team to have even greater impact on campus and beyond. Importantly, she believes deeply in ASU’s potential to transform our region and to advance a new model of a 21st-century university art museum that advances art at the intersections of every important issue of our day.”

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