Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Curators III: Tariana Navas-Nieves

[A longer version of the profile that ran in the Gazette on March 18]

Tariana Navas-Nieves, the Fine Arts Center’s new curator of Hispanic and Native American art, calls her job “a curator’s dream.”

Navas-Nieves applied for the job of curator of American art, but the center was impressed enough to alter the job description to take advantage of her dual expertise.

She admits that one half of her job description gives her more joy than the other: “Latin American art is my passion,” said the Puerto Rico native.
“I fell into Native American art by working with collectors.”

Navas-Nieves’ work with collectors is just one aspect of her experience.

“I’ve worked in big spaces and small spaces, and with big collections and small collections,” she said. She’s been a consultant for the Denver Art Museum, and also worked at Denver’s cozy Museo de las Americas.

One of her duties is to bring the center’s historic collection of Southwestern arts and crafts up to date.

“It wasn’t just santos in the Southwest,” she said, referring to the painted and carved images of saints that form the core of the center’s collection.

She’s looking at other museums for hints on what direction to take the collection.

“The Denver Art Museum has a fabulous Pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial collection,” she said. “We need a contemporary collection to complement that.”

A regional perspective comes naturally to Navas-Nieves: She still lives in Denver, where her husband is a criminal defense attorney. The couple has two young children.

She also brings an international viewpoint to her job, saying she can’t do a good job without knowing international trends and artists.

Navas-Nieves hopes to bring national and even international attention to the Fine Arts Center, a process that began when Michael De Marsche took over as the center’s president and chief executive officer in 2003.

“I’m hoping to cause some ruckus and reaction,” she said. “Colorado Springs is kind of a traditionalist city. I want to celebrate that but also to expand it. This city is ready to be challenged and pushed in new directions.”

But like De Marsche, Navas-Nieves believes that it’s possible to bring modern art to a broad public.

“Art is not for curators or scholars or a small group,” she said. “It is for you — it is for the public.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tariana Navas-Nieves estamos seguros que vas a hacer un gran trabajo, mucho animo en tu nuevo cargo,tus ideas parecen bastante buenas, somos una galeria de San Lorenzo del Escorial,., Madrid ,España.Galeria Álvaro Sellés ,

4:26 AM  

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