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City of Albuquerque Announces New Museums Administrator, Head Curator at the Albuquerque Museum

Both leaders are New Mexico natives with extensive experience in art, history, and museums.

June 14, 2021

The City of Albuquerque’s Department of Arts & Culture has named Cynthia Garcia as its new Museums Administrator. In this position, Garcia will oversee policy, key initiatives, and large projects at the Albuquerque Museum, Balloon Museum, and the City’s private/public partner, Explora. In addition, Dr. Josie Lopez has been promoted to Head Curator at the Albuquerque Museum overseeing all curators, collections, and acquisitions.

"We recognize the commitment and passion these two leaders have in preserving and sharing our culture and history and their dedication to our important cultural venues," said Mayor Tim Keller. "I look forward to their continued work on strengthening diversity, equity, inclusion, and community representation in our projects and programming."

Garcia, who received a master's degree in business administration from UNM's Anderson School of Management, has spent the last 22 years working in various upper management positions with the City of Albuquerque, most recently as the Assistant Director of the Albuquerque Museum since 2011. Highlights of her career at the Albuquerque Museum include playing an instrumental role in bringing the exhibitions Visions of the Hispanic World: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library and Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism to the museum.

Behind the scenes, Garcia facilitated the Albuquerque Museum’s creation of a state-of-the-art storage facility after Phase II construction that completely renovated the museum’s history exhibit. She is currently working on Phase III of the Albuquerque Museum’s Master Plan that will add a new Education Center and renovate the oldest part of the museum that dates back to the 1970s. In addition to her continued work with the Albuquerque Museum, Garcia will extend her expertise to the Balloon Museum and Explora.

“I welcome the opportunity to enhance my museum vision to include ballooning, as well as expanding on the private/public partnership with Explora, one of the best children’s museums," Garcia, a native New Mexican with ties to the rural villages of Medanales and Dixon, said of her new role.

Lopez, born and raised in Albuquerque, has a doctorate in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley. She joined the Albuquerque Museum as the Curator of Art in December 2018 overseeing the development and interpretation of the museum’s collection of over 10,000 works of art. Since joining the museum, Lopez initiated an analysis of the collection and drafted a data driven plan to grow and diversify the collection.

Lopez is leading a team of staff in the process of updating core documents that help the museum fulfill its mission and goals and maintain its accreditation with the American Alliance of museums including a Strategic Plan and a Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion.

Lopez recently updated the exhibition Common Ground: Art of New Mexico and the Sculpture Garden both of which include the permanent collection and are the subject of the museum’s recently published art collection catalog. Lopez works closely with curatorial staff to develop exhibitions originating at the museum including the past exhibition, The Carved Line: Block Printing in New Mexico and an upcoming project exploring master printers’ collaborations with artists.

“Museums are important cultural organizations that foster collaboration, build and maintain important collections, and present exhibitions and programs that engage with the diverse communities in our city—I’m grateful to be a part of it." Lopez said. "It is an honor to be entrusted with both curatorial work which is inherently creative as well as the important process that the museum has undertaken to ensure that diversity and inclusion are at the core of the museum’s organizational planning and programs.”

Lopez also oversees the museum’s visiting artist program that is currently funded by the Frederick Hammersley Foundation. Nicola López was the 2020-21 visiting artist and Cannupa Hanska Luger will be the 2021-2022 visiting artist. This project allows the museum to show contemporary artists in action and provides the opportunity for museum visitors to experience site-specific installations in the museum lobby.