The California African American Museum in Exposition Park announced Monday that Cameron Shaw has been appointed executive director.
The Los Angeles native has served as the museum’s deputy director and chief curator since September 2019.
“We are delighted that Cameron Shaw has agreed to lead the museum into the future, continuing CAAM’s remarkable trajectory,” CAAM Board President Todd Hawkins said. “She has admirably navigated CAAM’s closure due to COVID-19, all the while strategizing and fundraising for several exciting initiatives to come once Los Angeles museums are allowed to reopen.”
Shaw’s appointment follows the retirement of George O. Davis, the executive director since 2015. During her tenure at CAAM, Shaw has been overseeing the Museum’s curatorial affairs, department of education and public programs, and marketing and communications.
Highlights of her leadership include the successful pivot of the museum’s public programs from in-person to virtual, necessitated by the pandemic and considerably broadening CAAM’s audience nationwide, and the recruitment of key staff members.
“I’m honored and excited to be CAAM’s executive director,” Shaw said. “Against the current backdrop of a global pandemic, racial inequality, and the changing needs of museum audiences, it is clear that there continues to be an urgent need for cultural organizations that center, contextualize, and support African American contributions and experiences. CAAM has long been that critical space in Los Angeles, and I look forward to meeting this moment by presenting new scholarship and innovative public experiences through which all visitors can see Black art, history, and culture valued and reflected.”
Prior to her time at CAAM, Shaw was the executive director of New Orleans-based Pelican Bomb, a nonprofit contemporary art organization that was a forum for exhibitions, public programs, and arts journalism. Shaw lectures and moderates panels on topics including values-based institution building, translating theory to practice, rethinking organizational sustainability, and creative publishing strategies. She was chosen for the NAMAC National Leadership Institute in 2013 and the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in 2016.
Shaw holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Yale University, where she worked at the Yale Center for British Art, and early in her career she interned in curatorial departments at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Later she was research manager at David Zwirner gallery in New York.
In addition to her curatorial practice, Shaw is a widely published writer and editor.
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