Spelman College announces artist, curator, and museum professional Liz Andrews, Ph.D., as the new executive director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. A gifted museum professional at the intersection of the arts and social justice who has worked in colleges and arts organizations across the nation, Dr. Andrews will begin leading the Museum on August 2, 2021.
“For decades, the Spelman Museum has celebrated art by women of African descent. We are thrilled to welcome a museum professional as talented as Dr. Andrews to lead the important curatorial and education work at the Museum,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. “Her social justice scholarship, embrace of innovative technologies and appreciation for interdisciplinary collaborations make her the right leader at the right time for the future of the only museum in the country that is dedicated to work created by Black women.”
With a dedication to artists and re-envisioning art history, Dr. Andrews’ scholarly work is focused on the intersection of art and social justice. Her dissertation, “Envisioning President Barack Obama,” focused on the role of visual images in the 2008 election of Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th president. She argues that elections are about more than voting for leaders; they are battlegrounds upon which cultural values are visualized and contested.
“I am honored to take on this role at such an exciting time for the arts at Spelman College and a moment of great change for museums, arts and culture,” said Dr. Andrews, who has spent the last five years as the executive administrator in the Director’s Office of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. At LACMA, she expanded her role to collaborate on projects and priorities across museum departments, including diversity and inclusion efforts and curating exhibitions.
This fall, Dr. Andrews will open two shows at LACMA with co-curator Christine Y. Kim: the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s “Obama Portraits Tour” and a companion exhibition, “Black American Portraits.” Her other curatorial projects at LACMA included “Alex Prager: Farewell, Work Holiday Parties” (2020), and two Augmented Reality Monuments: Glenn Kaino’s “No Finish Line” (2021) and Ada Pinkston’s “The Open Hand is Blessed” (2021).
“At LACMA, Liz Andrews has blended her effective administrative skills with her creative academic and curatorial work to focus on social justice and equity as a path to the future of art museums,” said LACMA CEO and Director Michael Govan. “She is herself on a path to help shape our field.”
Dr. Andrews’ career is defined by a long-standing commitment to engaging undergraduate students through research and the arts. Prior to LACMA, she was a doctoral student at George Mason University, where she co-taught the multi-year Mason Science of Diversity Project. After graduating, she continued to engage with undergraduate students as a guest instructor in Art History at George Mason. Her classes challenged students to reconsider the roles of art in society and develop critical research projects. While working as an administrator in the Department of Photography & Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, Dr. Andrews advised students and organized public conferences on Black figures and beauty.
A native of Denver, Colorado, Dr. Andrews attributes her commitment to social justice to her father, attorney Irving P. Andrews. She holds a B.A. in American studies from Wesleyan University, a M.A. in arts politics from the Tisch School of the Arts, and a Ph.D. in cultural studies from George Mason University.