This summer The Block is honored to welcome América Salomón into a new role as the Manager of Public Programs within the Engagement Department. Within this position, América will helm public program offerings at the Block as well as collaborative curricular programs. We sat down with her to learn a bit more about her path and her interests in museum education and interdisciplinary teaching and learning through art.
Can you tell us a bit about your background? What drew you to museums and the work of engagement?
I’ve been passionate about art (and making art) for as long as I can remember, and I studied studio art for both my undergraduate and graduate education. After completing my BFA program in Georgia (where I’m from), I knew that I wanted to share this passion with others and thought that a career at the intersection of the arts and education would be a perfect pathway for this (though I didn’t know what that looked like, exactly). In the five years between undergrad and grad school, I tried to inch my way toward this goal, working to accumulate teaching experience and making my way toward arts work. In my last year in Atlanta, I was fortunate to get the position of Assistant to the Director of Education at the High Museum of Art, where my eyes were opened to the field of Museum Education and Engagement and its potentials. I was moved by the intentional work that Museum Educators can do toward bridging the divides our own institutions and practices have been built upon, and I became a believer in and champion of the field’s core tenets of accessibility, mutual learning, and shared expertise. Museum Education and Engagement became an unwavering interest of mine, even as I pursued my MFA in Chicago shortly thereafter.
What particularly interests you about working within the context of an art museum?
I like the proximity to artwork, art objects. As an artmaker myself, I have always been drawn to examining and exploring an artwork first-hand, and I think museums can be great sites for fostering this kind of curiosity and engagement with works of art. They can sustain experiential inquiry and learning, and help transcend narrow ideas of what “learning” is.
What appeals to you about the Block Museum mission?
I’m moved by the Block’s language of being “free and open to all;” it motivates me to work toward realizing that aspiration and vision.
What are your goals for engagement and public programs at The Block?
I am excited by the potential to help shape The Block’s programs through a practice that mirrors its thoughtful and considered curation of exhibitions and its own collection, with intention, to advance the museum’s teaching, learning, and research mission, expand narratives, and move toward the vision of being truly “free and open to all.” I’d like to continue the Block’s strides in creating greater accessibility, deepening partnerships on and off campus, building connections to our surrounding communities, and committing to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion principles across the institution.
Where will we find you / What will we find you doing outside of your position at The Block?
Outside of my work at the Block, you can most often find me looking for new places to eat (and bakeries, specifically), consuming comedy in all formats (podcasts, books, TV, movies…), and generally just spending time with my husband and our dog.