Marianne Lamonaca, associate gallery director and chief curator at Bard Graduate Center Gallery, serves as Board president of the Association of Art Museum Curators. AAMC convened its first virtual Art Curators Conference May 1 – 5. Originally planned for Seattle, the nonprofit’s eighteenth consecutive conference welcomed 385 attendees from 16 countries and 235 art organizations. Advancing AAMC’s mission to connect the curatorial community, the program addressed ongoing issues of inclusions, advocacy, and access, as well as the impact of the current health crisis.

The 2020 Art Curators Conference began with a ‘wish you were here’ welcome video from the Seattle Art Museum, providing a touching connection to the original host city.

I opened the conference with the following remarks: “Our thoughts are with everyone there affected by the current situation, and we acknowledge those everywhere who have experienced fear, illness, and loss. But let’s not lose sight of the continuous and unstoppable outpouring of creativity that we have seen these past months. People everywhere are eager to share their cultural and personal stories in the most engaging ways, and YOU and YOUR COLLEAGUES have risen to the occasion. This groundswell of creativity reinforces how elemental and meaningful the visual arts are to our lives. Let us take the next days to celebrate that hundreds of curators have come together to share, to listen, and to collaborate on ways to bring our communities together and to ultimately build a better future for everyone through the arts.”

One highlight of the conference included a two-hour intensive Inclusive Hiring workshop moderated by Joy Bailey Bryant of Lord Cultural Resources, including discussions on reimagining a hiring and onboarding process and establishing positive internal environments that are inclusive, diverse, and accessible.The conference also featured two keynote discussions: one between Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art, and Sasha Suda, director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada; and another between Vishakha Desai, president emeritus of the Asia Society and senior research scholar in Global Studies at Columbia University, and the visual artist and writer, Barbara Earl Thomas. Panels included Curating in a Decentered World, Curating Indigeneity: Identity, Presence & Narratives, Shifting Curatorial Practice Across Borders, Latinx Art is American Art, Local Voices: Collaboration at the University of Washington, and Problematizing the “Global”.

Each day’s sessions began with a land acknowledgment recognizing the Indigenous and Native lands hosting the virtual conference and encouraging everyone to connect with and research the tribal groups in their area. The program also adhered to a code of conduct for all, ensuring a fair and equitable space free of harassment. For more information on the conference, visit