Conversations surrounding the art space typically stay within tight-knit circles, but this year the exclusive world of art galleries and museums drew criticism for its lack of diversity. The Brooklyn Museum announced two new curators in March — both white, and one hired to oversee the museum’s African art collection. With Black American and Latinx curators gravely underrepresented, the museum’s move was yet another example of how the art world intentionally locks out qualified, diverse talent. Similarly, the National Museum of African American History and Culture received backlash in September over Timothy Anne Burnside, a Smithsonian curator, when a tweet went viral that she’s been curating the hip-hop exhibit since the museum’s opening over two years ago. With the museum dedicated to the preservation of African American culture, it begged the question, who should have access to Black spaces?
It’s no secret, curators are powerful. They select which artists and works of art fill museums and galleries, and 85% are white, according to a 2015 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation study. Despite the stats, there are collectors, curators, artists, dealers, and academics, among others, of color who are changing the face of the art world. Here, we highlight eight Latinas shifting the space: