Press Releases & Statements

Future Museum Professionals to Learn from Executives in a One-Day Symposium

New York, NY
April 6, 2022

The Association of Art Museum Directors and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA) have partnered to host a one-day virtual symposium aimed to assist university students who may be seeking careers in arts institutions. During this unique event from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 22, 2022, students will explore equity in the museum field with accomplished professionals throughout the midwest. The day will include formal presentations by these professionals in the field and “real talk” behind the scenes conversations with additional experts representing leading Midwest museums.  

Belinda Tate, KIA Executive Director, says “Museums across the country are centering diversity, equity, accessibility, inclusion, and belonging in their institutional practices. These tenets are an integral part of our work at the KIA. We are excited to partner with the Association of Art Museum Directors on this important event that explores how museum professionals intentionally incorporate equity and inclusion into their staff and community engagement priorities. Students who attend this symposium will better understand how to position themselves for a career in the arts. The panelists will also provide insights into the successes, challenges, and opportunities they have faced in their careers. This is a unique opportunity that is not to be missed. Some of the discussions may also be meaningful to current museum professionals and board members.”  In conjunction with the Association of Art Museum Directors, this project has been generously supported by the Detroit Institute of Arts, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Toledo Museum of Art, Muskegon Museum of Art, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, and Cleveland Museum of Art.

This symposium will feature prominent panelists of color who will share the stories behind their professional careers, the obstacles and opportunities. Some museum professionals in attendance will be: 

  • Belinda Tate, Executive Director, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
  • Jim Leija, Deputy Director for Public Experience and Learning, University of Michigan Museum of Art 
  • Denene de Quintal, Assistant Curator for Native American Art, Detroit Institute of Arts
  • James Burgess, Conservation Coordinator, Toledo Museum of Art
  • Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell Director & CEO, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Students will have a chance to meet with these professionals in breakout rooms, where they can have dialogue around the future of working in museums. 

Students can RSVP for this FREE symposium at  Upon registration, students will receive a private VIP Zoom link to attend as well as a special link to jobs at these participating institutions to help them move forward in their careers. Early registration will also include free entry into the KIA’s Unveiling American Genius Symposium on April 23.  The symposium will focus on the KIA’s permanent collection installation of which 50% of the works on view are either by women or artists of color.  Participants will have a chance to hear from leading contemporary artists such as Tylonn Sawyer and Adia Millett, and learn about the importance of this installation to Southwest Michigan and beyond. Programs will include conversations with Chief Curator Rehema Barber and Shannon Karol, Director of Museum Education and Community Engagement.


About AAMD
The Association of Art Museum Directors advances the profession by cultivating leadership capabilities of directors, advocating for the field, and fostering excellence in art museums. An agile, issues-driven organization, AAMD has three desired outcomes: engagement, leadership, and shared learning. Further information about AAMD’s professional practice guidelines and position papers is available at

About Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
As one of the leading arts organizations in Michigan and the Midwest, the mission of the KIA is to promote and cultivate the creation and appreciation of visual arts. We believe art is for everyone. Visit for more information.


Anita Difanis
Association of Art Museum Directors