Dr. Ramos, the new President and CEO of Long Beach’s Museum of Latin American Art
When the Museum of Latin American Art named Lourdes Ramos its new President and CEO, MOLAA board members said she’d bring an international perspective to the 21 year-old Long Beach institution. The former Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in San Juan for more than a decade, Ramos, a native of Puerto Rico, earned her Ph.D. from the University of Barcelona, Spain. The first Latina to take the helm of MOLAA, she is also an accreditation commissioner for the American Alliance of Museums. That’s how she first caught the attention of MOLAA’s board. Throughout her career, she’s earned a reputation for spearheading partnerships between major international institutions.
I spoke with Dr. Ramos at the Museum.
What do you see as your goals or challenges here at MOLAA?
I strongly believe that we need more research from different points of view about Latin American and Latino art work, and different kinds of alliances between institutions and curators from around the world.
At this museum, working with the community is going to be key. I’d like to look at the possibility of building up an artist-in-residence program, a research center, and having interdisciplinary shows to bring a new vision to how we talk about Latin American art.
Bringing in fresh blood and new artists is another main goal of MOLAA—writers, musicians, and artists from inside and outside of the United States. There’s a lot happening with Latino and Latin American art, not just in the United States, but internationally.
What are the areas of Central and South American art history that we don’t know enough about here in North America?
Venezuelan art has a long history that people usually don’t know. Brazil has a long history of different artistic opportunities and movements. You can go country by country—Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and on—and there are artists from those countries, some living out in the diaspora, that have made an impact.
Is bringing in new audiences part of your job here?
Honestly, I think that’s something that gets easier every day, because the concept of museums has changed a lot. The museum is no longer just artwork on the walls—it’s more than that. We can make an impact in community with new kinds of contextualization and new ways to imagine education programs at the museum. I think we’re going to have a lot of success building up a new future.
And I have the best team a museum director could have. I have a lot of support not just from the board but from an international network that is waiting for us to deliver the kind of work that they expect from a strong presenter of Latin American and Latino art in the United States.
MOLAA is located at 628 Alamitos Avenue, and is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Details at www.molaa.org.