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AMY GALPIN SHARES VISION FOR THE FUTURE AS MDC’s EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF MUSEUM OF ART AND DESIGN

Written By Michelle F. Solomon
February 26, 2024 at 12:22 PM

Amy Galpin, Ph.D. was named the new executive director of Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design, it was announced on Feb. 5. (Photo courtesy of Miami Dade College)

Amy Galpin, Ph.D., has been named executive director of Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design (MOAD). Galpin had been chief curator at The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU since 2018. Before arriving in Miami for the FIU position, she was curator at the Rollins Museum of Art at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.

While Galpin has served as curator and chief curator, this will be her first director position. At MDC, she’ll oversee all museum operations, which includes MOAD, MDC Special Collections and the Kislak Center at MDC’s Freedom Tower, as well as other art  interests of the college’s.

The new executive director joins the college at an exciting time for its museum system as the Freedom Tower, which was donated to MDC in 2015, will reopen in 2025 for its centennial celebration after a two-year, $25 million renovation project.

Galpin says she is “looking forward to working with my colleagues to position MOAD as an institution of the present and the future. We have an opportunity to be flexible and adaptable and to create significant change.”

While curator at the Rollins College Museum of Art, Amy Galpin received the Presidential Award for Diversity and Inclusion in 2017. The photo was taken in front of a work by Rina Banerjee acquired during her time at the Winter Park, Fla., museum. (Photo courtesy of Dina Mack)

Referring to the Freedom Tower renovation, she says, “What the team has been working on with several partners in the last year or two is thinking very critically about the history of the building and going to the archives and talking to people  . . .  wanting to honor, in our grand reopening, this significant place that that building (holds) in the history of Miami.”

Just a few blocks away from the Freedom Tower is the David Dyer Federal Building, which MDC took possession of in 2013 and has committed to a $60 million renovation. Galpin reveals that there will be “a couple of MOAD galleries” inside the building when the renovation is completed, she says, which is expected in 2026.

As overseer, just three weeks into her new job, Galpin is already contemplating much about the future of MDC’s museum system and all of its art spaces.

“We have galleries in Little Havana and Hialeah and I’m looking forward to assisting and collaborating with my colleagues there,” she says, adding there are opportunities within these art spaces to have an impact in those communities.

Leaving FIU to take on the role at MDC, staying in Miami, and serving another academic institution felt right on many levels, she says.

“One of the things I loved most about being at FIU was serving the students and I am committed to that at MDC, too. But also, something that I have been passionate about is working with Miami artists. I am ecstatic to have an opportunity to continue to evolve my own career, of course, but also to continue to work with Miami artists. I feel there’s so much documentation and contexts and opportunities that we can give these local artists.”

The large canvas that she now has to work within provides opportunities for Miami’s art community at large, she says. ” . . . Incorporating the galleries, thinking about the public art projects.”

She refers to the commissioned series MOAD Pavilions, the second of which is “Germane Barnes: Ukhamba,” curated by Isabela Villanueva, MOAD consulting curator. The first, Rafael Domenech’s “Estuary,” opened at the MDC Wolfson Campus in November 2022 and was later reconfigured at the MDC Kendall Campus.

An aerial view of the commissioned work “Germane Barnes: Ukhamba,” on the Building 1 Plaza at MDC’s Wolfson Campus. It will be reinstalled on MDC’s North Campus beginning Wednesday, March 6. (Photo courtesy of Miami Dade College)

“Ukhamba,” which was sited on the Building 1 Plaza at MDC’s Wolfson Campus in November of 2023 where it will remain until the end of February, will now be reinstalled on MDC’s North Campus beginning Wednesday, March 6, where it will stay through Sunday, May 26.

“This idea of how we can share projects and move projects throughout the city and serve different audiences . . . is a critical part of my vision.”

And that vision also includes taking to heart, literally, the MOAD name.

“We are the Museum of Art and Design so we have an important role to play in the intersection of those terms . . . so how we might incorporate ceramics, fashion and, and other aspects into the work that we do?”

She wants to move forward with more collaborations with other museums, curators and organizations.

“And, you know, I am always striving to be a good community member myself.”

Mark Delmont’s solo exhibition “Papers: The Children of Immigrants,” which opened on Feb. 10 at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, was curated by Amy Galpin. (Photo courtesy of Reginald Thermidore)

Galpin curated a solo exhibition, Mark Delmont’s “Papers: The Children of Immigrants,” which opened on Feb. 10 in the Amadlozi Gallery at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center. Delmont is a Miami local artist known for his mixed-media creations.

“It’s such an honor and privilege to have played a small part in a wonderful exhibition and an opening in that space, which has also staged a number of significant exhibitions from Charles Humes Jr. and Morel Doucet, and now Mark. Both with my MDC hat and my individual hat, I hope to continue to partner with various people and organizations in the city.”

On Wednesday, March 6 from 6 to 9 p.m., artist and architect Germane Barnes will be featured in an Artist Talk with special guests, interdisciplinary artist and designer Cornelius Tulloch and consulting curator Isabela Villanueva on MDC’s North Campus, Leroy Collins Center, Building 4000, 11380 NW 27th Ave., Miami, taking place inside “Ukhamba.” Tickets are $10. Information and tickets here.

On MDC’s Hialeah campus gallery at 1780 W. 49th St., “Remaking Miami: Josefina Tarafa’s Photographs of the 1970s” is on exhibit through March 14. During the 1970s, the photographer, editor and philanthropist, Josefina Tarafa (born Havana, Cuba, 1907–died Miami, Florida, 1982) created images that picture Miami transformed by the arrival of her fellow Cuban immigrants. This is the first exhibition dedicated to Tarafa’s photography. More information here.

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit media source for the arts featuring fresh and original stories by writers dedicated to theater, dance, visual arts, film, music and more. Don’t miss a story at www.artburstmiami.com

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