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Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Announced New Appointments Across Curatorial, Programming, and Diversity and Inclusion Teams

THE FINE ARTS MUSEUMS OF SAN FRANCISCO (FAMSF) announced a slate of new staff members on May 5, including Abraham Jacksondirector of interpretation; Courtney Jones, manager of diversity and inclusion; Sarah Mackay, assistant curator, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts; and Devine Malone, director of public programs and community engagement.

FAMSF is comprised of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park. Last year, “Wangechi Mutu: I Am Speaking, Are You Listening?” was presented at the Legion of Honour. The landmark traveling exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983” opened at the de Young in 2019. Currently, “Alice Neel: People Come First” and “Hung Liu: Golden Gate” are featured. This summer “The Obama Portraits Tour” and “Faith Ringgold: American People” will be on view at the de Young.

The new staffers will work across both public institutions. News of their 2022 appointments was announced along with the hiring of Beth Szuhay, head of textiles conservation, who joined the Museums in January.

“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,” Thomas P. Campbell, FAMSF director and CEO said in a statement .

“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… will be key partners in helping us to drive this work forward,”
— Chairman & CEO Thomas P. Campbell

Abram Jackson, Director of Interpretation. | Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

IN JUNE, Jackson officially joins FAMSF as director of interpretation, a newly created position in which he will provide context and equitable of distillations of exhibitions and “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.” He has been serving as an interpretive consultant to the Museums since 2019, working most recently on “Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love.”

An educator for nearly two decades, Jackson brings a spectrum of teaching experience to his new role. Since 2015, he has worked at The Bay School of San Francisco, where he is a humanities teacher and junior class dean. At St. Ignatius College Preparatory, Jackson ran enrichment programs for low-income and first-generation college-bound students (2006-15). He has also been an adjunct lecturer at Napa Valley College and San Francisco State University, where his duties included working with incarcerated youth through SFSU’s partnership with Project Rebound and the California Division of Juvenile Justice.

Jackson earned an MA in ethnic studies from San Francisco State and holds an MAT in social science teaching from the University of Southern California.

Sarah Mackay, Assistant Curator, Achenbach Collection of Graphic Arts. | Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

AS ASSISTANT CURATOR at the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Mackay will work with the FAMSF’s collection of works on paper, more than 90,000 items including prints, drawings, and artist’s books.

She joins the Museums from Christie’s New York, where she was the sales coordinator in the wine and handbags departments; she worked with the Latin American Paintings, Old Master Paintings, Impressionist and Modern, and Post-War and Contemporary departments as a member of the graduate training program; and she served as director of programming for the corporate social responsibility and equity, diversity, and inclusion groups (2020-21).

Mackay earned a BA in art history from New York University and is studying for her master’s degree in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art (London). She officially starts at the Museums this month.

Courtney Jones, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion. | Photo by Gary Sexton, Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

IN JANUARY, Jones became the first person to serve as manager of diversity and inclusion at the Museums. She is expected to “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.” Since 2016, Jones has been served as operations director and senior business solutions strategy consultant at Managing Diversity Together LLC. She is also a board member of several community-based organizations. CT

“The Obama Portraits” documents the official portraits by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. “Faith Ringgold: American People” was published to accompany the exhibition. Also consider the recent publication “Faith Ringgold: Politics/Power.” Following the catalog “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” a second volume, “The Soul of a Nation Reader: Writings by and about Black American Artists, 1960-1980,” further explores the themes of the exhibition . Wangechi Mutu: I Am Speaking, Are You Listening? documents the recent exhibition. Wangechi Mutu is forthcoming from Phaidon in November.

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