The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco announce staff appointments

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The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco announce staff appointments
Installation view of Alice Neel: People Come First, de Young museum, San Francisco, 2022. Photograph by Gary Sexton. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco announced five new staff appointments:

• Abram Jackson, Director of Interpretation
• Devin Malone, Director of Public Programs and Community Engagement
• Beth Szuhay, Head of Textiles Conservation
• Courtney Jones, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion
• Sarah Mackay, Assistant curator, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts

In announcing the addition of these new key staff members, Director and CEO Thomas P. Campbell shared, “We are delighted to welcome Abram, Devin, Beth, Courtney, and Sarah to the Fine Arts Museums. As the city’s art museums, we are committed to connecting our communities with the art and ideas of the past and present in a welcoming and inclusive environment. Abram, Devin, Beth, Courtney, and Sarah, with all the deep experiences that they bring to the table, will be key partners in helping us to drive this work forward.”

Abram Jackson, Director of Interpretation

Abram Jackson will be joining the Museums as the first Director of Interpretation in June 2022. As an interpretation consultant to the Museums since 2019, Jackson has supported equitable interpretations for exhibitions at both the de Young and Legion of Honor, exemplified most recently in his work on Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love. In his role as Director of Interpretation, Jackson will utilize DEAI theories and practices in partnership with staff and colleagues across the Museums to create more inclusive interpretive frameworks, design new processes for interpretation, and support the development of the gallery guide program.

Jackson has worked as a diversity director, junior class dean, adjunct professor, and humanities teacher, and he has worn many other hats during his career in education. He comes with extensive teaching experience, having worked at St. Ignatius College Preparatory for nine years, at The Bay School of San Francisco for seven years, and, since 2011, as an adjunct professor at San Francisco State University, a role that includes his current work with incarcerated youth via the university’s partnership with Project Rebound and the California Division of Juvenile Justice. Jackson holds an MA in ethnic studies from San Francisco State and an MAT in social science teaching from the University of Southern California.

Courtney Jones, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion

Courtney Jones joined the Museums in January 2022 as the first Manager of Diversity and Inclusion. In this role Jones helps to lead the Museums’ continued progress towards becoming an anti-racist organization. In addition, Jones will assist with uplifting and supporting the Museums’ employees, develop common DEAI language across the institution, foster employee engagement, and evaluate and create a strategic plan on shifting the Museums’ work culture to an anti-racist one.

Prior to joining the Museums, Jones was the senior business strategy consultant for Managing Diversity Together, LLC, where she created and updated training courses on social- and racial-justice issues, with a creative, ambitious, and enthusiastic approach to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Jones is a certified trainer in cultural humility, transforming white privilege, diversity, equity, inclusion, access, and belonging methodologies. She has extensive experience in developing diversity and inclusion plans, as well as in addressing the ways in which systemic and institutional racism show up in organizations. Her advocacy for diversity and inclusion is just as important in her professional career as it is in her personal life. She is a board member for multiple community-based organizations; cofounder of Girl Scout Troop 32099, which currently includes over ninety girls; commissioner for the City of Oakland Sugar Sweetened Beverage Community Tax Advisory Board; New Leaders Council Oakland Cohort 2022 fellow; BrioxyLife 2022 fellow; Emerge California Northern California alumna; and vice representative for the Class of 2021; and the Girls Inc. of Alameda County 2019 Strong, Smart, and Bold Honoree.

Sarah Mackay, Assistant curator, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts

Sarah Mackay will join the Museums in May 2022 as the Assistant Curator at the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, the department responsible for the Fine Arts Museums’ collection of works of art on paper, such as prints, drawings, and artists’ books. In this role Mackay will contribute to the care and interpretation of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts collection, which includes more than 90,000 works on paper, as part of the day-to-day operation of the prints and drawings department.

Prior to joining the Museums, Mackay was with Christie’s, New York, where she served as the sales coordinator for the wine and handbags departments. Mackay was also a member of Christie’s graduate training program, during which she cataloged and performed provenance and archival research for the Latin American Paintings, Old Master Paintings, Impressionist and Modern, and Post-War and Contemporary departments. From 2020 to 2021, Sarah was director of programming for Christie’s corporate social responsibility and equity, diversity, and inclusion groups, helping spearhead multiple successful charitable events and diversity initiatives. Mackay holds a BA in art history from New York University and is currently completing a master’s degree in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she is focusing on the Italian Renaissance period, specifically sixteenth-century Rome and Parma.

Devin Malone, Director of Public Programs and Community Engagement

Devin Malone joined the Museums as Director of Public Programs and Community Engagement in February 2022. This refreshed title raises the profile of the important work of helping the Museums meet our strategic commitments around community-centric work. In their new role, Malone will develop a holistic strategy for engagement that addresses the urgencies of Bay Area communities through sustained partnerships with local organizations. They will also work to expand and reimagine existing offerings such as Free Saturdays programming, in addition to launching new exhibition-focused programmatic initiatives.

Malone joined the Museums from Dia Art Foundation in New York, where they served as assistant curator of public engagement, leading the expansion of the institution’s programmatic offerings for youth and adult audiences in New York City. They bring a wealth of knowledge in the conceptualization and production of multimodal engagement programs, with an emphasis on fostering long-term, collaborative relationships with historically underserved museum audiences. Centering compassionate leadership, experimentation, participant agency, and queer BIPOC perspectives, Malone has produced innovative, values-driven programs at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, as well as at a host of art institutions in their hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Malone holds an MA in museum and exhibition studies from the University of Illinois Chicago, as well as a BA in anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Beth Szuhay, Head of Textiles Conservation

Beth Szuhay joined the Museums as the Head of Textiles Conservation in January 2022. In this role, Szuhay oversees the daily operations and future direction of the Textile Conservation Department. Working collaboratively with Curatorial and other departments, she will develop and implement costume and textile arts conservation priorities.

Prior to joining the Museums Szuhay was the owner and Principal Textile Conservator at Chrysalis Art Conservation, serving private clients and institutions throughout North America. She was previously with the Museums during the construction of the new de Young building and assisted with setting up the new textiles conservation laboratory and preparing the opening exhibitions. Szuhay received her MS from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in art conservation.

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