The Power of Art: Creating Space for Racial Justice
Jun 9 2021 | 12 - 1:30pm
What's NEXT logo in front of painting frames

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The Power of Art: Creating Space for Racial Justice

What's Next? Roundtable Series

The College of Liberal Arts is hosting a series of roundtable discussions with community leaders that seeks to answer the question “What’s next for us to eliminate institutional and systemic racism in society in the wake of George Floyd’s death?”

Join us for a conversation focused on what’s next for arts institutions following the killing of George Floyd. How can museums advance racial justice today and over the long term? And how are museum leaders viewing their roles differently now?

This event is open to all but you must register to attend to receive a Zoom link. Audience can submit questions in advance or live during the event.

Presenting Sponsor: Weisman Art Museum


  • Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, head of public programs, Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • Katie Luber, director and president, Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • María Elena Ortiz, associate curator, Pérez Art Museum Miami


  • Karen Mary Davalos, professor, Department of Chicano and Latino Studies, University of Minnesota


Photos of Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, Katie Luber, María Elena Ortiz, & Karen Mary Davalos
(L-R) Panelists Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, Katie Luber, María Elena Ortiz, and moderator Karen Mary Davalos



Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell

About the Speaker

Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell is a cultural equity and audience engagement strategist with over 10 years of museum and nonprofit experience at the intersections of social justice and racial equity. As Head of Public Programs with the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery she is responsible for leading new outreach and inclusion initiatives towards developing new audiences and cultivating public engagement. In the wake of Covid-19 she leads an internal task force towards reopening planning and strategies. In 2020, she served on a 6-month term detail with the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum to develop a new initiative on race and community. She has previously worked with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora. She has developed college-level art history curricula for the study of art by African Americans and the art of social justice movements for Trinity Washington University. She serves on the Board of Washington Project for the Arts, and on the Artist Selection Committee of Halcyon Arts Lab and VisArts in Rockville, MD. Additionally she co-leads strategic efforts for Museum As Site for Social Action and is a member of the Empathetic Museum since 2017. She received her Bachelor of Art in Art History from the University of Maryland, College Park and Master of Art in Museum Studies from George Washington University. She is an alum of the Claremont University Museum Leadership Institute, formerly the Getty.

Katie Luber

About the Speaker

Katie Luber leads the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) as its Nivin and Duncan MacMillan Director and President. She previously led the San Antonio Museum of Art, where she transformed its relationship to the city through community engagement, the mentoring of new museum leaders, and a major celebration of San Antonio’s Spanish heritage. Her efforts helped double attendance and triple memberships, while proving the power of art to bring diverse communities together. By breaking traditional barriers to access and expanding opportunities for museum leadership, she believes, museums can fulfill their promise of engaging, educating, and inspiring us all.

María Elena Ortiz

About the Speaker

María Elena Ortiz is a Curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), where she is spearheading the Caribbean Cultural Institute (CCI). At PAMM, Ortiz has organized several projects including Allied with Power: African and African Diaspora Art from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection (2020); The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art (2019); Latinx Art Sessions (2019); william cordova: now’s the time (2018); Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: A Universe of Fragile Mirrors (2016); Ulla von Brandenburg: It Has a Golden Sun and an Elderly Grey Moon (2017); Carlos Motta: Histories for the Future (2016); and Firelei Báez: Bloodlines (2015). Ortiz has contributed to writing platforms such as the Davidoff Art Initiative, Terremoto Magazine, and others. A recipient of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) and Independent Curators International (ICI) Travel Award for Central America and the Caribbean, Ortiz’s curatorial practice is informed by the connections between Latinx, Latin American, and Black communities in the US and the Caribbean. Currently, she also serves as the Chair of the Art in Public Places Committee in the city of Miami Beach, which under her leadership developed a series of important art commissions for the Miami Beach Convention Center, including works by Joseph Kosuth, Sarah Morris, and others.

Karen Mary Davalos

About the Speaker

Karen Mary Davalos, professor of Chicano and Latino Studies at the University of Minnesota, is a leading scholar of Chicana/o/x art, with four books on the subject: Exhibiting Mestizaje (UNM Press, 2001); The Mexican Museum of San Francisco Papers, 1971-2006 (UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, 2010), the Silver Prize winner of the International Latino Book Award for Best Reference Book in English, a prize-winning monograph on Yolanda M. López (distributed by UMN Press, 2008), and Chicana/o Remix: Art and Errata since the Sixties (NYU Press, 2017). her latest book which exposes and challenges untenable methods in art history. With Constance Cortez, she is building “Rhizomes of Mexican American Art since 1848,” an online digital tool linking art collections and related documents from libraries, archives, and museums. She serves on the board of directors of Self Help Graphics and Art, Inc. She has mentored more than 37 students – most of whom are BIPOC – into graduate and professional schools.

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