Directors Summit

Directors Summit: Paving Common Ground Part I on the /Dialogues stage at EXPO CHICAGO 2024. Photo by Justin Barbin. 

In 2024, EXPO CHICAGO celebrated the third edition of the annual Directors Summit, an initiative that gathers an emerging generation of art museum leaders from across the country for a three-day program of conversations around civic responsibility and advancing organizational growth and change in response to the call for an equitable, inclusive, and sustainable future. Facing the profound challenges of an election year, the 2024 Directors Summit offered a forum for museum leaders to share how their institutions offer an invaluable "third space" to explore civic discourse and foster common ground.  

The summit, in partnership with museum consultant Jill Snyder (Principal, Snyder Consultancy), featured a keynote at the University Club of Chicago by Dr. Louise Bernard, Founding Director of the Obama Presidential Center Museum (The Obama Foundation).

2024 Keynote Speaker

About Dr. Louise Bernard

Dr. Louise Bernard is a Senior Vice President at the Obama Foundation and the founding Director of the Obama Presidential Center Museum. As a Senior Content Developer and Interpretive Planner in the New York office of the museum design firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates, she worked on the design team that developed the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, along with other national and international projects. She previously served as Director of Exhibitions at the New York Public Library, as Curator of Prose and Drama for the Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, and as Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown University. She received a BA Hons in Drama from the University of Manchester, an MA in Theatre History and an MA in English Literature from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale. Her research engages with the literary archive, material culture, museology, public history, and interpretive planning and design. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and on the Advisory Council for the Johnson Publishing Company Archive. In 2021, she received the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University. 


Directors Summit Roundtables (/Dialogues Stage)


Panelists | Liz Andrews, Ph.D. (Executive Director, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art), Vanja V. Malloy, Ph.D. (Dana Feitler Director, Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago), Zoë Ryan (Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director, Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania), JoAnne Northrup (Executive Director and Chief Curator, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art). Moderated by Jill Snyder (Principal, Synder Consultancy).   

This panel is presented in partnership with Sotheby’s, Bloomberg Connects, Terra Foundation for American Art, and the University Club of Chicago.   



Panelists | Asma Naeem, Ph.D. (Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director, Baltimore Museum of Art), Brooke A. Minto (Executive Director and CEO, Columbus Museum of Art), Reuben Roqueñi (Executive Director, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art), Yasufumi Nakamori, Ph.D. (Museum Director and Vice President of Art and Culture, Asia Society). Moderated by Jill Snyder (Principal, Snyder Consultancy).  

This panel is presented in partnership with Sotheby’s, Bloomberg Connects, Terra Foundation for American Art, and the University Club of Chicago.   


2024 Participating Directors

Liz Andrews, Ph.D.

Executive Director
Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

Liz Andrews has served as Director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art since August 2021. She has orchestrated five shows over five semesters at the Spelman College Museum including Lava Thomas: Homecoming, Black American Portraits, and Harmonia Rosales: Master Narrative. Threaded, the spring 2025 exhibition, is a selection of contemporary textiles by Black women. Silver Linings: Celebrating the Spelman Art Collection was the first show under Andrews direction, and it is currently on a five-venue national tour in partnership with Art Bridges Foundation. Andrews has simultaneously prioritized the Spelman Museum collection: its growth, preservation, exhibition, future publications, and most importantly, making it a site for active learning for students. 

Prior to Spelman, Liz worked in the Director’s Office of LACMA, where she co-curated Black American Portraits. Andrews holds a BA from Wesleyan University, MA from NYU Tisch School of Arts, and Ph.D. in Cultural Studies.

Vanja V. Malloy, Ph.D.

Dana Feitler Director
Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago

Dr. Vanja V. Malloy is an accomplished museum director, curator, scholar, and community builder and was appointed as the Dana Feitler Director of the Smart Museum of Art in 2022. She leads the University of Chicago’s fine arts museum, overseeing its strategic planning, exhibitions and programming, and student and faculty collaborations. 

Malloy joined the Smart Museum from the Syracuse University Art Museum, where she was the Director and Chief Curator since 2019. Previously, she was the Curator of American Art at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College and the Chester Dale Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Throughout her professional experience, Malloy has curated numerous exhibitions and worked closely with contemporary artists on an array of projects. Malloy’s research examines the cross-disciplinary exchange of modern art, science, and technology in the early 20th century.  

Malloy holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London; a master’s degree in American Fine and Decorative Arts from Sotheby’s Institute of Art; and a bachelor’s degree from Duke University.   

Brooke A. Minto

Executive Director and CEO
Columbus Museum of Art

Brooke A. Minto assumed the role of Executive Director and CEO of the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) in May 2023. With a career spanning over two decades, Minto has experience working for a range of museums and interdisciplinary arts organizations in the United States and abroad.  

Before joining CMA, Minto served as the inaugural executive director of the Black Trustee Alliance for Art Museums (BTA). During her time with BTA, she grew the grant-funded pilot program into a robust nonprofit membership organization equipping Black trustees with the resources to bring meaningful and lasting change to their institutions. In 2023, Minto was recognized by the American Alliance for Museums (AAM) for her work advancing diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) in the museum field.

Previously, Minto served as a managing director of Advisory Board for the Arts and held senior leadership roles at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, the New Museum in New York, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and Pérez Art Museum Miami. She began her career in the curatorial department of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Minto studied art history, and earned a master’s degree in modern art and critical studies from Columbia University. Her passion for the arts extends beyond her professional endeavors; she actively contributes to the field by serving on the board of advisors for the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth and the board of directors for Print Center New York.

Asma Naeem, Ph.D.

Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director
Baltimore Museum of Art

Asma Naeem (she/her) is the Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director at the Baltimore Museum of Art. She previously served as the Museum’s Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Chief Curator at the BMA, and has organized exhibitions on the work of such artists as Candice Breitz, Isaac Julien, Salman Toor, and Valerie Maynard. Prior to the BMA, she was at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, where she presented, among other shows, an early career retrospective of the work of Titus Kaphar, and an historical and contemporary exploration of the silhouette through the lens of gender, race, and technology. She has written widely on American art, contemporary art, the South Asian diaspora, and museum studies. Her book, Out of Earshot: Sound, Technology, and Power in American Art, 1847–1897, was published by University of California Press in 2020.

Her exhibition, The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century, a sweeping social and art history of the hip hop movement both as an American and global phenomenon, was on view at the BMA in early 2023. Co-organized with Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM), The Culture is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue with over 50 acclaimed contributors. Naeem holds a BA in art history and political science from the Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in art history from the University of Maryland,

Yasufumi Nakamori, Ph.D.

Museum Director and Vice President of Arts and Culture
Asia Society

Yasufumi Nakamori joined Asia Society in August 2023 as Director of the Museum and Vice President of Arts and Culture. An experienced museum leader, curator, and noted scholar, he is responsible for overseeing the museum’s exhibition program and collection, as well as arts and culture programming across the organization.

Nakamori came to Asia Society from Tate, where, from 2018 to 2023, he served as the Senior Curator, International Art (Photography). Nakamori led the development of Tate’s collection of photography as well as the strategy for representing photography in the program at Tate Modern. He curated the exhibition Zanele Muholi (2020/21) among others, and advised on Asian and Asian diaspora art in programming, including the exhibition Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind (2024). In addition, he provided strategic management for photography in the programming at Tate Britain.

Prior to Tate, Nakamori headed the department of photography and new media at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, developing exhibitions of photography and time-based media within the context of a global encyclopedic art museum. His oversaw the exhibition series New Pictures and presented Leslie Hewitt, Amar Kanwar, The Propeller Group, among others. He was responsible for numerous key acquisitions which transformed and diversified the museum’s photography collection.

He previously served as curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from 2008 to 2016, and his exhibitions include For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography 1968 – 1979 (2015-6) and Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture, Photographs by Ishimoto Yasuhiro (2010) that won a 2011 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award from the College Art Association.

Nakamori has contributed to numerous exhibition catalogues and has taught graduate seminars at Hunter College and Rice University. He is a 2016 fellow of the Getty Leadership Institute, holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin, an MA in the History of Art from Hunter College, the City University of New York, and a PhD in the same subject from Cornell University.

JoAnne Northrup

Executive Director and Chief Curator
Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

JoAnne Northrup was appointed Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art at Johnson County Community College in 2021. Before relocating to Kansas City, she was based on the West Coast. As Curatorial Director and Curator of Contemporary Art of the Nevada Museum of Art (2012-21), she founded the contemporary art program and curated cutting edge exhibitions, including the nationally touring Unsettled (2017-19), organized in collaboration with iconic Los Angeles-based artist Ed Ruscha. Prior to her time in Nevada, Northrup was Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the ZKM Center for Art + Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. As Chief Curator (2008-2011) and Senior Curator (2001-2008) at the San Jose Museum of Art, in California, she curated and authored the first nationally touring survey exhibitions and monographs on contemporary media artists Jennifer Steinkamp (2006) and Leo Villareal (2010).

Born in Berkeley, California, Northrup earned her BA in Art History from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her MA in Art History/Museum Studies from the University of Southern California.

Reuben Roqueñi

Executive Director
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art

Reuben is a nationally respected arts administrator with over 20 years in progressive program development, management, artist-centric support systems and grant making experience. Portland Institute for Contemporary’s (PICA) programming supports the experiments of the most vital and provocative artists of our time. Its vision is international, intergenerational, interdisciplinary, and decidedly forward thinking. From performances to exhibitions to lectures to the annual Time-Based Art Festival, PICA’s programs catalyze conversations about contemporary culture.

Reuben is a member of First Nations Performance Alliance advisory consortium, focused on cultural change, commissioning, touring and presenting Indigenous performance. Likewise, he is an artist advisor in the Creative Administrative Research program at the National Center for Choreography at Akron (NCCAkron). He was previously a board president at MAP Fund, supporting performing artists that question, disrupt, complicate, and challenge inherited notions of social and cultural hierarchy. He has served on advisory committees for Advancing Indigenous Performance at Western Arts Alliance, and National Dance Project (NDP) at New England Foundation for the Arts, amongst many. He is a graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Institute, Stanford Impact Program for Arts Leaders, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture’s (NALAC) Leadership Training, and the first NALAC Arts Advocacy Institute in DC.

Previously, he was Director of Transformative Change Programs at Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, serving Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian artists, organizations, and programs across the US. Formerly, Reuben was Program Officer in the Performing Arts Program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in the San Francisco Bay Area, one the nation’s largest arts and culture funders; and he served as Grants Program Director at the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona. He received his BFA from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and is a multi-media artist. He began his career in arts administration at the afterschool arts and business program, Old Pascua Youth Artists (OPYA), serving Yaqui youth in Tucson and as an artist educator in the public-school system. Reuben is of mixed Yaqui, Mayo, and Mexican-American ancestry. He was raised on the central coast in California and is currently living in Portland, Oregon.

Zoë Ryan

Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania

Zoë Ryan is Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. Since joining ICA in 2020, she has focused on expanding the institution’s role as a launchpad for contemporary art, research, and ideas across disciplines. Recent projects include the creation of Field Notes, ICA’s first research platform to explore the intersection of art, design, and society.

Prior to ICA, Zoë was John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she set the vision for collecting and exhibiting modern and contemporary architecture and design as expanded fields of practice that are in dialogue with the socio-political conditions of the time. Her research explores how the arts can be a catalyst for social and cultural change and she is an active lecturer and panelist at national and international institutions.

Upcoming projects include a co-edited volume of writings by Cuban-Mexican designer Clara Porset, many translated into English for the first time (Concordia University Press, 2024). Past projects include the exhibition and catalogue: In a Cloud, in a Wall, in a Chair: Six Modernists in Mexico at Midcentury (2019); the edited volume: As Seen: Exhibitions that Made Architecture and Design History (2017); and major survey exhibitions of the work of architects and designers, including: Christien Meindertsma, Studio Gang, Bertrand Goldberg, Konstantin Grcic, Max Lamb, and the Ambiguous Standards Institute.

In 2014, Ryan was the curator of the second Istanbul Design Biennial: The Future is Not What it Used to Be. Ryan has taught graduate courses in design history and theory at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a member of the Design Trust International Advisory Council, Hong Kong; a Board of Advisor for MAS Context; and on the Executive Committee of the International Confederation of Architecture Museums.

Directors Summit Partner

Jill Snyder

Snyder Consultancy

Principal of Snyder Consultancy, has held museum leadership positions for over 25 years. She provides strategic expertise for cultural organizations seeking to advance growth and change and convenes thought leaders in dialogue on cultural leadership and museum design.