Liza Sylvestre, 2019. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Champaign, Ill. —Krannert Art Museum (KAM) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is pleased to welcome Liza Sylvestre as the museum’s inaugural Curator of Academic Programs.

In this position, Sylvestre will be responsible for connecting the university’s faculty and students to the museum, developing KAM into a vital resource for teaching across all disciplines at the University of Illinois, both by facilitating instruction with the museum’s collection and exhibitions and by forging her own collaborative projects with university partners.

“Liza’s remarkable practice as an artist and educator make her an ideal person to launch this new position at KAM,” said Museum Director Jon L. Seydl.

Her novel approach to deploying art museums in interdisciplinary teaching—including innovative collaborations with scientists at the University of Minnesota, as well as her prior work with KAM’s collections and programs as a museum educator—means that she will leap into compelling collaborations with university colleagues at once, Seydl continued.

As an artist in residence at the Weisman Art Museum and the Center for Translational Sensory Science (CATSS) at the University of Minnesota, Sylvestre worked with sensory loss scientists to create a symposium that utilized the Weisman’s art collection as a tool through which scientists and individuals with sensory loss could learn from each other. 

Sylvestre is known for her intersectional and multidisciplinary work that explores the ways in which our senses alter our experience and perception of the world. She has exhibited at venues such as the John Hansard Gallery at the University of Southampton, the Plains Art Museum, the Weisman Art Museum, Lease Agreement Gallery, Roots & Culture, Soo VAC, the Soap Factory, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, and the Gene Siskel Film Center. 

 “My approach to institutional spaces is framed largely by issues of access related to my profound hearing loss,” said Sylvestre. “The experience of living with a disability allows one to clearly see the ways in which cultural institutions exclude non-normative bodies and marginalized identities. How we, as citizens, understand disability is formed largely by how institutions like museums broach the subject. Access should be thought of as something that extends beyond gestures of accommodation and considers non-normative perspectives in the way that content is framed and generated. Access should be a generative place that fosters critical examination of both art history and potential art trajectories; certainly, it is a valuable lens through which to examine KAM’s collection to reveal layered intersectional meanings.”

Sylvestre, the 2019-2020 Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellow through the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois, has planned a forthcoming exhibition and publication in conjunction with Gallery 400 at the University of Chicago. The exhibition will include work from artists such as Alison O’Daniel, Emilie Gossiaux, and Berenice Olmedo and has been developed to confront the complex discourse of identity politics and aims to explore and highlight the intersections of embodied understanding and theorized experience. The artists Sylvestre selected for this exhibition create works that not only speak to their cultural/political point of view, they also help to develop a critical lens that encompasses multiple, often contrasting, perspectives.

Sylvestre is interested in exploring intersectional thinking through art making and critical art discourse, approaches evident in her art and exhibition practice, and that she hopes to bring to her work as Curator of Academic Programs. Sylvestre’s work has been written about in Art in AmericaMousse MagazineSciArt Magazine and the Weisman Art Museum's Incubator Web Platform.




Krannert Art Museum (KAM) promotes a vibrant exchange of ideas in the visual arts through its global art collection spanning six millennia from 4000 BCE to the present. Located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, KAM is the second largest general fine arts museum in Illinois. More information can be found online at or on social media @kamillinois.


Release Date: June 15,2020